On Aug. 22, 1970, when Gibson led the Cardinals to an easy 7-0 win against Spiezio’s Padres, the dominant fastballer had a bit of difficulty getting the third baseman out. Spiezio tagged Gibson for two singles, one in the sixth and the other in the eighth.
It’s good for San Diego that Spiezio got that pair of singles, because the rest of San Diego couldn’t do anything against Gibson all day long. Aside from Spiezio’s 2-for-3 performance, the Padres were 0-for-25 on the day. Spiezio prevented Gibson from getting a no-hitter.
Did I say no-hitter? I’m underselling the point then. Aside from limiting the Padres to those two singles, Gibson allowed no walks and no hit batsmen, and no Cardinals made errors. If not for Spiezio, Bob Gibson would’ve had himself a perfect game.
Would’ve, could’ve, might’ve—it all means didn’t. Spiezio really did belt that pair of singles.
It must’ve been doubling frustrating for Gibson because at that point in his career he’d never pitched a no-hitter. Twice he’d thrown a complete game one-hitter. The first time came against the Phillies back in 1965, when a fourth inning single by Johnny Callison broke it up.
More recently, just two months before the Spiezio game, Gibson took a no-hitter into the eighth before a two-out single ruined his hopes. The team Gibson faced in June of 1970? Why the Padres of course. Spiezio didn’t ruin that no-hitter, though. Ivan Murrell, a career .236, was Gibson’s nemesis on that day. Gibson was more dominating in that game than the Speizio one. In June, Gibson fanned 13 batters, but two months later recorded only six (four of which came in two consecutive innings).
Back in those days, Gibson owned the Padres. 15,000 days ago was Gibson’s sixth start against them, and his record was 6-0. In all, he fanned 57 batters in 57 innings with only 38 hits allowed and a 2.05 ERA. Not bad. Aside from the pair of no-hitters, on Aug. 12, 1970 (just 10 days and two turns in the rotation before the near perfecto), Gibson threw 14 innings against San Diego, the longest outing of his career, defeating them 5-4 with 13 strikeouts.
It all ended well for Gibson. He didn’t get that perfect game, but in 1971 he got his first and only no-hitter. He may have walked a few batters in that contest, but then again he also drove in three runs, helping St. Louis to an 11-0 win over the Padres.
Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim.
3,000 days since Magglio Ordonez gets his 1,000th career hit.
3,000 days since Todd Helton bashes his 200th home run.
3,000 days since the Tigers release Todd Jones.
3,000 days since Dan Haren makes his big league debut.
6,000 days since the Tigers trade Tony Phillips to the Angels.
15,000 days since Don Sutton steals the only base of his career. It comes in the bottom of the seventh of a Dodgers-Pirates game tied 1-1. The Pirates win the marathon 16-inning contest, 2-1. In it, Roberto Clemente gets five hits, something he’ll do again tomorrow.
20,000 days since the NL voids the trade of Jackie Robinson to the Giants, because Robinson refuses to report.
30,000 days since Babe Ruth blasts the 10th of his 12 career walk-off home runs.
1876 George Zettlein, one of the hardest throwing (and hardest drinking) pitchers of his day, plays in his last game.
1877 Louisville, fighting for the second NL pennant, loses to Cincinnati. Team stars Jim Devlin and George Hall will admit they threw game for money, and will be suspended from baseball for life after the year.
1885 The Detroit Wolverines purchase Dan Brouthers from Buffalo. Both clubs play in the NL.
1891 Boston star pitcher Jack Stivetts allows two inside the park home runs in one game.
1891 Talented pitcher Brewery Jack Taylor makes his major league debut. Take a wild guess why he got that nickname.
1891 Philadelphia sign free agent Jerry Denny, who will be the last man to play without a glove when he retires a few years later.
1894 Terry Larkin, star pitcher from not so long ago, dies at age 38.
1901 Sliding Billy Hamilton plays in his final game.
1903 Boston scores in each of the eight innings it bats in, defeating Cleveland 14-7.
1903 The Pirates and Red Sox agree to meet in a postseason World Series. This idea will catch on.
1904 Ned Garvin, one of the hardest-luck pitchers of all time (no run support), plays in his final game.
1905 The Yankees arrive at the ballpark short on infielders, so Wee Willie Keeler, normally a left fielder, plays second for an entire doubleheader, despite the fact he’s a lefty.
1911 Frank Chance manages his 1,000th game. His record is 663-320.
1912 The Braves take Bill McKechnie from St. Paul (Double-A) in the Rule 5 draft.
1914 Roger Peckinpaugh, age 23, becomes the youngest manager to date.
1917 All-time triples king Sam Crawford plays in his final game.
1921 Hall of Famer Goose Goslin makes his big league debut.
1922 The Browns nearly win the pennant this year, falling just short against the Yankees, and this is the game they can look back on with the most regret. They lose to the Yankees, 2-1 in front of 18,000 fans at Sportsman’s Park. One fan tosses a bottle that hits New York’s Whitey Witt in face and by some accounts that takes the heart out of the Browns (at least for the day) and motivates the Yankees that much more.
1923 Something about Sept. 16 causes fans to throw bottles on the field. When they don’t like an umpire’s call, Cubs fans litter the field with beer bottles, hitting two members of the Giants in the barrage. Commissioner Landis attends the game, and shakes his cane at the crowd to help restore order, but he’s ignored.
1924 Jim Bottomley has the game that put him in Cooperstown. He goes 6-for-6 with 12 RBI, leading St. Louis to a 17-3 beating of the Dodgers.
1926 Charlie Gehringer plays his sixth and final game at third base. All six games came this week.
1933 George Gore, star of 1880s baseball, dies.
1933 In a 14-13 win over the Dodgers, the Cardinals pull of a triple steal in the seventh inning.
1934 The largest crowd in the history of the Polo Grounds, 62,573, sees the Cardinals sweep a doubleheader against the Giants. As a result, the second place Cards now trail the first place Giants but by just 3.5 games with two weeks to play. The Cardinals will clinch the pennant on the last day of the season.
1934 Phil Cavarretta makes his big league debut.
1936 Birdie Tebbetts makes his big league debut.
1937 Jim Bottomley plays in his final game.
1937 Negro League Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo pitches the first professional no-hitter in Mexico.
1940 Crazed fan Frank Germano attacks umpire George Magerkuhrt immediately after the Dodgers lose to the Reds in the Ebbets Field.
1941 Lloyd Waner plays his 77th consecutive game without whiffing. He’ll fan in his next appearance, though.
1945 Lloyd Waner plays in his final game.
1945 Good-hit but no-field Babe Herman plays in his last big league game.
1946 The Tigers release longtime star pitcher Tommy Bridges. (Random fact: His birth name is Thomas Jefferson Davis Bridges).
1946 Baseball owners rescind previous decision to move to a 168-game schedule.
1947 Al Lopez, catcher, plays in his final game.
1947 Yankees reliever Johnny Murphy appears in his last big league contest.
1948 Joe DiMaggio becomes the eighth member of the 300 home run club.
1950 Tommy Brown, Dodgers, hits three home runs in one game.
1952 In the Pacific Coast League, player-manager (and eventual Hall of Famer) Joe Gordon hits pinch hit home runs in both ends of a doubleheader.
1953 Bob Elliott plays in his final game
1953 Rogers Hornsby manages his final big league game.
1955 Mickey Mantle pulls a hamstring running out a bunt for the Yankees. For the rest of the season, he’ll make two more pinch-hit appearances and that’s it.
1955 Robin Yount is born.
1957 Los Angeles City Council approves the sale of 300 acres at Chavez Ravine to the Dodgers, who in turn give the city Wrigley Field (no, not that one—there’s a stadium by that name in LA) and 40 acres.
1958 Bob Allison makes his debut.
1958 Orel Hershiser is born.
1959 Tim Raines is born.
1960 Mickey Tettleton is born.
1960 At age 39, Warren Spahn finally gets a no-hitter, beating the Phillies. He fans 15, a personal high for a nine-inning game, achieving a Game Score of 100.
1961 The Reds trade young pitcher Claude Osteen to the Senators.
1961 Ron Santo grounds into two double plays for the second straight game. He’s 0-for-6 in those contests. In his other two at bats, he grounded out with no one on each time.
1961 Willie McCovey hits a pinch-hit, walk-off home run. It’s the first of six walk-off and the first of two pinch-hit shots.
1962 Willie Stargell makes his big league debut.
1963 Stan Musial knocks out his 475th and final career home run.
1963 Former pitcher Johnny Niggeling commits suicide by hanging himself.
1965 The American League hires Emmett Ashford as the first black ump in baseball.
1966 Mike Epstein makes his big league debut.
1966 Against the Mets, Willie McCovey cranks out a 500-foot home run, reputedly the longest ever hit at Candlestick Park.
1966 Carl Yastrzemski has his best game, according to WPA. He goes 3-for-5 with two doubles, and a homer (and a GIDP) in Boston’s 5-4 win over the Angels. He scores twice and drive in three for a 0.966 WPA.
1967 Rick Joseph hits a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the 11th inning for a 8-4 Phillies win over the Dodgers.
1968 The Giants draw 2,361 fans at Candlestick, their lowest total ever in San Francisco. They beat the Reds, 8-4.
1970 The Cubs purchase Tommy Davis from the A’s.
1970 Jim Palmer allows three triples in one game.
1972 After a Reds-Padres game at Riverfront Stadium, “This Is Your Life” host Ralph Edwards shows up to surprise Johnny Bench – immediately making him the featured guest on a new episode of the show.
1972 Mike Schmidt belts his first home run.
1972 Dwight Evans makes his big league debut.
1974 Gary Carter makes his big league debut.
1975 The Mets beat the Expos 4-3 on a walk-off walk in the 18th inning; it’s the latest game (at least since 1950) to end like that. It happens on four pitches with two outs.
1975 The Pirates destroy the Cubs, 22-0, setting a record for biggest blowout in a shutout since 1900. Second baseman and leadoff hitter Rennie Stennett is the star, going 7-for-7, something no one has done in a nine inning game since 1900.
1976 Carlton Fisk suffers his worst ever game, according to WPA: -0.404.
1977 The Royals lose to the Mariners, 4-1, ending a 16-game winning streak that ends the AL West pennant race.
1977 The Mets and Cubs resume their game from July 13, when the Great Northeast Blackout put an abrupt halt to play.
1978 Negro Leaguer Big Bill Foster dies at age 74.
1983 Dennis Rasmussen makes his big league debut.
1986 Gordon Beckham, infielder, is born.
1987 Bob Boone sets a record for games caught with 1,919, passing previous record hold Al Lopez.
1988 In just his 750th game played, Kirby Puckett gets his 1,000th hit.
1988 Owners unanimously vote to make A. Bartlett Giamatti the new commissioner.
1988 After a rain delay, Tom Browning pitches the first NL perfect game in 23 years, leading the Reds to a 1-0 win over the Dodgers.
1990 Dave Parker connects for his 500th career double.
1990 Jeff Conine makes his big league debut.
1991 Baseball suspends Atlanta’s Otis Nixon for 60 days for violating the game’s drug policy.
1992 The Red Sox top the Brewers 2-1 on a walk-off error in the 15th inning.
1992 Frank Thomas experiences his only five-hit game, going 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
1992 Randy Johnson posts a Game Score or 97, with 15 strikeouts and only one-walk in a nine inning one-hitter of shutout ball. However, it’s a no-decision as the game goes 13 innings.
1993 Dave Winfield gets his 3,000th hit while playing in his 2,840th game.
1995 Craig Biggio steals a career high four bases in one game.
1995 Brian Giles makes his big league debut.
1995 Shawn Estes makes his big league debut.
1996 In just his 2,411th game, Paul Molitor gets his 3,000th hit.
1996 Thanks to two home runs, Tim Raines gets a career best six RBI in one game, as the Yankees trounce the Blue Jays, 10-0.
1997 Bobby Bonilla hits one of the most dramatic homers you’ll ever see. In the bottom of the ninth, the Marlins trail the Rockies 6-5 and are down to their last out when Bonilla comes to the plate with the bases loaded. After two quick strikes, Bonilla fouls off six consecutive pitches before connecting for the walk-off grand slam to end the game. Marlins win, 9-6.
1998 Mike Piazza gets his 200th home run—and it’s the best WPA homer of his career. With two on and two out in the top of the ninth, and his team trailing 2-0, Piazza gets a three-run shot off Billy Wagner, which works out to a 0.736 WPA.
1998 Florida’s Kirt Ojala fans four consecutive batters in the first inning. No one’s ever done that in the opening frame before.
1998 Manny Ramirez homers twice, giving him five in the last two days.
2003 Richard Hidalgo hits three home runs in one game.
2004 For the second time in seven weeks and third time in his career, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez belts three home runs in one game.
2004 Jamie Moyer loses his 10th straight decision, his worst losing streak ever. His numbers in that span: 17 G, 16 GS, 97 IP, 111 H, 77 R, 67 ER, 36 BB, 54 K for a 6.22 ERA, and a 7.14 RA.
2005 Manny Ramirez receives a walk-off HBP from Keichi Yaub of the Oakland A’s. It’s in the bottom of the 12th and gives Boston a 3-2 win.
2006 Chone Figgins hits for the cycle.
2006 Derek Jeter’s longest hitting streak maxes out at 25 games. In that time, he’s 40-for-106 with eight doubles and three homers for a .377/.432/.538 line.
2007 Todd Helton hits his 300th home run.
2007 Jim Thome connects for his 500th home run.
2007 Roger Clemens plays in his final game.
2009 The White Sox release Bartolo Colon.