Francisco Liriano of the Twins pitched a no-hitter last night against the White Sox. Of course, the Twins won (I feel your pain, my die-hard White Sox nephew Bobby). But there have been times when a pitcher has pitched a no-hitter and lost the game. Don’t believe me? I can remember seeing one on TV on July 1, 1990 and it involved the Yankees…(cue the wavy flashback screen).
(Yes, Bobby, it also involves the White Sox!) Look at that score. My goodness, it was an ugly game, but it was so typical of the Yanks in the late eighties/early nineties. The ad slogan for the Yankees was “At any moment, a great moment.” And my wife and I used to add, “But not this moment.” And this black-eye of a game fits that description to a tee.
It’s July 1, a Sunday. We’re taking some time away from Manhattan to spend a long week up in Scarsdale, NY with friends. We’re gonna chill, drink some beer, BBQ, and relax. It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon so everybody is in the backyard. But not me. I’m nursing a beer, watching the Yanks. And I start to get the feeling that I’m going to watch history being made.
Andy Hawkins is pitching a gem in Comiskey Park. He’s got the White Sox on the ropes, but the New York offense can’t get a run in for him (hey, that’s what the Yankees have been doing this past week, by the way). In the eighth inning, he retires the first two batters. But then Sammy Sosa (yep, he played with the White Sox before the Cubs) got to first base on a fielding error by the Yankee third baseman Mike Blowers. Then Hawkins walked the next two guys! Bases loaded, two outs. Robin Ventura is batting and he sends a soaring fly ball to left field. At any moment, a great moment. The wind catches the ball and Jim Leyritz misjudges it and the ball glances off his glove. But not this moment. All three base runners, running their heads off a soon as it left the bat because there were two outs, score easily. The next guy up hits a fly ball that Jesse Barfield loses in the sun. And not this moment, either. It drops and Ventura scores; another error, another unearned run. Hawkins finally gets out of the inning, but in the ninth the Yanks fail to score and the White Sox win the no-hitter. So, yeah, I watched history be made, but not in the way I had anticipated.
Insult to injury: In 1991, Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent changed the definition of a no-hitter, requiring that the pitcher throw at least nine full innings. And since Hawkins and the Yankees were the visiting team, the White Sox didn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth. And Hawkins had his no-hitter taken away. I wonder if Andy was happy to lose credit for that ugly no-hitter….
It gets late early out there.