20th anniversary: Chris Bosio’s no-hitter

Twenty years ago today, Chris Bosio had the game of his life. Though it didn’t look like that would be the case when things began, he ended up having easily the greatest day of his career.

When April 22, 1993, began, Bosio was a pitcher trying to help improve the Mariners pitching staff. Seattle had one of the worst staffs in the major leagues the year before, and they wanted some arms alongside their young core of starting players: Ken Griffey Jr., Omar Vizquel, Jay Buhner, and Tino Martinez.

To that end, Seattle had offered a huge $15 million contract to Bosio. With the Milwaukee Brewers, Bosio had posted a series of solid seasons. Just the year before he went 16-6 on a Milwaukee team making a surprise run at the postseason. The Mariners hoped the same thing would happen with them.

The early returns were a tad disappointing. Though Bosio pitched well in his first outing, he’d been roughed up since then. Today would be his fourth start, and he still was searching for his first victory as a Mariner.

Opposing him today would be a middling Red Sox team. Their lineup had plenty of notable names in it, but they were mostly either well past their prime (Tony Pena, Andre Dawson) or still hadn’t yet made their mark (Mo Vaughn, John Valentin). The most dangerous hitter may have been Mike Greenwell, and though he was a decent player, if he’s the most fearsome man in a lineup, the team has problems.

Still, at first it looked like Boston wouldn’t need much of a lineup to whump Bosio. Leadoff man Ernie Riles drew a base on balls from Bosio. A few moments later, Bosio issued another free pass, this time to outfielder Carlos Quintana.

You can just hear the sparse Kingdome crowd of 13,604 begin muttering. Their hot-shot free agent was flopping again, and it looked like another long season for the sad-sack Seattle squad.

However, Bosio soon righted his ship. Greenwell swung at the first pitch and promptly grounded into a double play, then Bosio fanned future Hall of Famer Dawson on three pitches. Well, maybe Bosio could get the win today anyway.

Sure enough, Bosio was on a roll. In the second inning, the heart of Boston’s order went down meekly, without anyone hitting the ball past the first baseman. They went down 1-2-3 in the third, as well, and again no one could get the ball out of the infield.

Meanwhile, Seattle went up 2-0 in the second and added another pair of runs in the third on the fifth career home run by a kid named Bret Boone. Seattle looked like it was going to win this game handily. The only drama was how well Bosio would do.

Well, he kept getting the job done. Boston’s big achievement in the fourth was finally hitting the ball out of the infield, but it was a line out to center by Greenwell. After another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, people couldn’t help by notice that, you know, this Bosio fellow hasn’t allowed a single hit all game long.

In the sixth and seventh innings, Bosio not only kept his no-hitter going, but he retired all six batters on a series of ground outs. A Vaughn fly out to lead off the eighth ended that particular streak, but between that, an Ivan Calderon grounder, and a strikeout of Scott Cooper, Bosio was just one inning from a no-hitter.

Up came the bottom of Boston’s order. A young Valentin grounded out to short on a 1-0 pitch to lead things off. A well-past-his-prime Pena then grounded one to third. Bosio was just one out away now.

Up came Riles, the man Bosio walked to begin the day. This day ended the only appropriate way it could, a ground out, the 16th grounder of the day. Normally, at least one of 16 ground balls will seep through the infield for a hit, but not on this day. The young infield of Martinez, Boone, Vizquel, and Mike Blowers gobbled them all up.

And like that, Bosio had his no-hitter. Even more amazingly, he retired every batter he faced after that opening pair of walks. After that horrible start, he’d been perfect. Though it took Bosio 12 pitches to get the first out, he ended the day with just 97 pitches thrown. It was a great day for Bosio, and it was 20 years ago today.

Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.

Day-versaries

1,000 days since Jason Kendall catches his 2,000th game.

1,000 days since young rookie sensation pitcher Stephen Strasburg is a last-minute scratch from a start against the Braves due to shoulder tightness.

4,000 days since the Angels destroy the White Sox, 19-0. In doing so, the 2002 Angels become the fourth team since 1900 to score 19 or more runs twice in one season, joining the 1923 Indians, 1939 Yankees, and 1950 Red Sox.

5,000 days since the Expos and Rockies combine for 10 homers in one game.

5,000 days since Casey Blake makes his big league debut.

5,000 days since Pee Wee Reese dies.

8,000 days since Dale Murphy gets his 2,000th hit.

8,000 days since weak-armed Canadian outfielder Terry Puhl appears in his last game.

9,000 days since for the second year in a row, arbitrator George Nicolau finds baseball owners guilty of collusion with regard to free agent players.

9,000 days since the Tigers made a last-minute deal for Fred Lynn that’s a minute too late. While the Tigers get him in time from Baltimore to join their team, because he’s unable to join the team by midnight, he’s ineligible to play in the postseason for Detroit. I believe Lynn’s flight suffered a slight delay; it was pretty close.

15,000 days since Donie Bush, infielder turned manager, dies.

20,000 days since Indians catcher Jay Porter uses a first baseman’s mitt to try catching Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckler. Four passed balls later, the experiment is deemed a failure.

20,000 days since Jim Bunning throws a no-hitter. He fans 12 while walking a pair in a 3-0 Tigers win over the Red Sox.

40,000 days since Cubs star shortstop Joe Tinker tells reports that it’s impossible to fix a baseball game. Boy, is he ever wrong.

Anniversaries

1872 Candy Cummings, Hall of Famer and reputed inventor of the curveball, makes his major league debut (well, if you consider the National Association a major league).

1876 In the first ever National League game, Boston beats Philadelphia, 6-5. Philly isn’t the Phillies; they don’t begin until 1883. Boston is now the Atlanta Braves.

1884 Jack Clements, one of the best-hitting catchers of his generation, makes his big league debut.

1890 Hall of Fame outfielder Jesse Burkett makes his major league debut, as does Billy Rhines, who is a good pitcher when healthy.

1891 Shortstop Bill Dahlen, arguably the best player eligible for the Hall who has been overlooked by Cooperstown, makes his major league debut.

1896 Cy Seymour, an outfielder/pitcher, makes his big league debut.

1898 Jay Hughes throws a no-hitter.

1898 Ted Breitenstein throws his second career no-hitter.

1898 Several decent players make their major league debuts on this day: pitchers Bill Dineen and Wild Bill Donovan, and hitter Harry Steinfeldt.

1901 Doc White makes his big league debut. He’ll be a very solid and effective starting pitcher for the next dozen seasons.

1906 A new rule puts the umpire in charge of all game balls.

1912 Jim Bagby makes his major league debut. He’ll win 30 games in 1920 for the world championship Indians.

1914 Babe Ruth debuts with the minor league Baltimore Orioles. He throws a shutout, beating Buffalo, 6-0. The second batter he faces is Joe McCarthy, his future Yankee manager.

1915 It’s a great moment in major league fashion as the Yankees debut their pinstripes.

1916 A’s pitcher Jack Nabors beats the Red Sox, 6-2, to give him a record of 1-1 on the year. He’ll never win another game, ending the season with a 1-20 record after 19 straight losses.

1918 Mickey Vernon, long-time first baseman, is born.

1918 Burleigh Grimes loses, giving him a career record 16 games under .500, his all-time low. It’s even worse when you figure he has just 26 career decisions, a 5-21 record, yet somehow he’ll recover to make Cooperstown.

1922 Ken Williams becomes the first player in 25 years to hit three home runs in one game.

1925 The Pirates hit seven triples in one game, a 6-1 win over the Cubs. They have just 11 hits in all; the other four are singles. Cub pitcher Tony Kaufmann allows all the triples, and no pitcher has surrendered that many in one outing since.

1928 Vic Sorrell, a decent pitcher for a spell, makes his major league debut.

1930 Howard Ehmke, a great pitcher in his prime who set a World Series record in 1929 for most strikeouts in one game, plays in his last game. The World Series truly was his last hurrah.

1930 Red Ruffing has only seven balks in his entire career but two happen today. He won’t balk again until June, 1935.

1931 Babe Ruth is taken to a hospital after colliding with Red Sox catcher Charlie Berry when the Bambino attempted to score on a sacrifice fly.

1932 Not normally a power hitter, Bill Terry somehow homers in his fourth straight game today.

1934 Star pitcher Lon Warneke throws his second straight one-hitter. Not bad.

1937 Eighteen Negro League stars, most notably Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, jump to the Dominican Republic’s league.

1937 Johnny Vander Meer, famous for throwing back-to-back no-hitters, makes his big league debut.

1939 Fred Haney manages his first game. He’s most famous for managing the 1950s Braves.

1939 Charlie Keller, great Yankees slugger, makes his big league debut.

1940 Harry Brecheen, star Cardinals pitcher, makes his big league debut.

1942 Joe DiMaggio smacks his 200th home run.

1946 Red Sox batter Eddie Pellagrini homers in his first at-bat.

1947 In one of the most infamous moment of 1947, Phillies manager Ben Chapman leads his team in taunting Dodgers rookie Jackie Robinson.

1947 Bob Feller throws his ninth career one-hitter. He fans 10 while walking one for a 94 Game Score, his second-highest ever. Al Zarilla gets a seventh-inning single.

1952 Vinegar Bend Mizell makes his big league debut.

1952 Roy Campanella lays down his first sacrifice bunt in nearly three seasons.

1953 Eddie Mathews has the first of 49 career multi-home run games.

1955 Today’s Washington Senators triumph gives manager Charlie Dressen a career record 65 games over .500 (516-451). It’s all downhill from here for Dressen.

1956 Brewers pitcher Moose Haas is born.

1957 Former White Sox pitcher Joe Benz dies.

1957 The Phillies become the last National League team to integrate, with John Kennedy taking the field for them. Two AL squads remain all-white: Boston and Detroit.

1959 A’s pitcher Tom Gorman, Mark Freeman, and George Brunet combine for 10 walks in one inning against the White Sox. Chicago scores 11 runs on just one hit, a single, in a 20-6 thumping. Nellie Fox ends the day with five RBIs, his personal high. He’s 4-for-5 with a double and two walks.

1959 Moose Skowron bangs a home run in the 14th for the only run in a 1-0 win. It’s the latest in AL history a homer ever has finished a 1-0 win. Whitey Ford picks up the win after throwing 14 innings for a remarkable shutout. His Game Score is 106. Ford also has a great day at the plate with three walks and a double.

1961 Former Toronto star pitcher Jimmy Key is born.

1961 New York’s Governor Rockefeller signs a bill permitting New York City to build a 55,000 seat stadium at Flushing Meadows in Queens.

1961 Pumpsie Green hits a walk-off homer in the 11th to end a 13-game losing streak for the Red Sox.

1962 The Pirates win, becoming the first team to start the year 10-0. They beat the Mets, who are now 0-9.

1962 Jim Bouton, pitcher/author, makes his big league debut with the Yankees.

1964 Whitey Ford notches his 200th win. His record is 200-79.

1964 For the second time in his career, Willie McCovey hits three homers in one game.

1964 Joe Torre has the first of 16 multi-home run games in his career.

1966 Second baseman Mickey Morandini is born.

1967 Former Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry appears in his last game.

1967 Willie McCovey has what WPA considers to be his greatest game ever. He’s 2-for-5 with a home run, four RBIs and a reached-on-error for a 1.002 WPA.

1968 For the last time in his career, Willie Stargell lays down a sacrifice bunt. He has over 6,500 more plate appearances left, but it never happens again.

1969 Al Lopez loses his 1,000 game as manager. His record: 1,408-1,000.

1969 Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers throws a complete-game shutout in his first start.

1970 Tom Seaver has one of the greatest outings in baseball history, fanning 19, including 10 in a row at one point.

1972 Buddy Bell’s first career homer is a grand slam. It’s one of eight slams in his career.

1973 Mike Schmidt belts a walk-off home run against Bob Gibson for just the second home run of his career.

1975 Fergie Jenkins has control problems, hitting a personal-high three batters in one game.

1975 Longtime starting pitcher Jim Kaat has his 10th straight Quality Start. He’s unstoppable in this span: 9-0 W-L, 82.1 IP, 59 H, 16 R, 8 ER, 18 BB, 54 K, and a 0.87 ERA.

1976 Tim Foli hits for the cycle.

1977 In just their 16th game in franchise history, the Mariners pull off their first triple play. It’s one of the few highlights from their early existence.

1978 Andre Thornton hits for the cycle.

1978 Paul Molitor smacks his only extra-inning home run. It’s in the top of the 10th off Sparky Lyle. In fact, it’s just his second homer ever.

1979 Bobby Grich endures his worst game, according to WPA: -0.425. He’s 0-for-3 with a walk, and sacrifice hit as the A’s top Grich and the Angels, 7-6.

1980 Ivan DeJesus hits for the cycle.

1981 Buddy Bell hits his 100th home run.

1981 At a rain delay in Comiskey Park, Orioles pitcher Dennis Martinez is hit in the eye with a beer bottle. He needs four stitches to close the wound.

1981 Fernando-mania! Fernando Valenzuela throws his third complete-game shutout in his fourth big league start. Oh, he also drives home the only RBI in 1-0 Dodgers win over Houston.

1981 Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni says hi; it’s his big league debut.

1981 Paul Molitor hits the first of two grand slams in his career.

1982 After starting out the year 13-0, the Atlanta Braves finally lose.

1985 Kirby Puckett finally hits his first home run. It comes in his second season, and he was a starter as a rookie, too.

1985 The St. Louis Cardinals release veteran infielder Art Howe, ending his playing career.

1988 Tony Gywnn notches his 1,000th hit. It takes him 783 games to get there.

1988 The Twins trade slugger Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for infielder Tom Herr.

1988 Roberto Alomar makes his big league debut.

1991 It’s the first White Sox homer in their new park (then called New Comiskey, now U.S. Cellular Field). Naturally, Frank Thomas hits it.

1991 Big Daddy Rick Reuschel appears in his last game.

1991 Giants second baseman Robby Thompson hits for the cycle.

1993 Mark Koenig, infielder for the 1927 Yankees, dies.

1994 Bob Ojeda appears in his last game.

1996 John Franco records his 300th save.

1998 White Sox infielder Ray Durham reaches on error three times in one game, tying a record.

2000 It’s one of the wildest brawls in recent decades, as the White Sox and Tigers combine for 11 ejections. Many of the players, including some not ejected, will receive suspensions from Minister of Punishment Frank Robinson. Jeff Weaver plunked a White Sox player, the Sox got revenge, and the on-field fights were real fights.

2000 The Orioles win, putting Mike Hargrove 136 games over .500, his all-time peak.

2001 For the first time, Albert Pujols hits two home runs in one game.

2003 Brandon Webb makes his major league debut.

2004 Omar Vizquel gets his 2,000th hit. It takes him 2,006 games.

2004 Jim Edmonds has his worst game ever according to WPA. He’s 0-for-5 with a GIDP and two Ks for a –0.406 WPA.

2005 Ivan Rodriguez swats his only extra-inning homer, a 10th-inning walk-off shot against Terry Mulholland.

2006 Kenny Lofton legs out his 100th triple.

2007 Yankee pitcher Chase Wright surrenders four straight homers to Boston. Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek get them. This puts the exclamation point on the first Red Sox sweep of the Yankees in Fenway Park in 17 years.

2007 Scott Rolen has maybe the greatest game of his career, 5-for-6 with a triple, homer, three runs, and three RBIs as the Cardinals top the Cubs, 12-9.

2008 In a 12-inning game, Albert Pujols plays second base. It’s his only time there. The Cardinals lose, though, 9-8 to Milwaukee.

2008 John Smoltz gets his 3,000th strikeout.

2010 The Yankees pull off their first triple play since 1968 but lose to Oakland anyway, 4-2.

2010 The Pirates suffer their most lopsided loss since their days in the AA in the 1880s: 20-0 to the Brewers. In the completed three-game series, the Brewers swept the Bucs while outscoring them, 36-1.

2011 A would-be no-hitter for Florida Marlin Anibal Sanchez is broken up by a lead-off ninth-inning hit by Dexter Fowler.

2011 Jason Bay scores on the rare four-base error by Houston’s Hunter Pence.

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Comments

  1. dennis Bedard said...

    “In one of the most infamous moment of 1947, Phillies manager Ben Chapman leads his team in taunting Dodgers rookie Jackie Robinson.”  First, a misuse of infamous which has an almost roguish quality about it, especially when mentioned in the baseball context.  The more appropriate word is “disgraceful.”  And it should not be confined to 1947.  It was one of the lowest class stunts ever pulled in baseball history.

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