40 years since baseball’s most dominating game

Forty years ago today, baseball witnessed perhaps the greatest one-game performance one player ever had.

Yup, the Rick Wise game was on June 23, 1971.

On that day, Wise dominated the game from both ends of the field. On the mound, he threw a complete game no-hitter—only the second by a Phillies pitcher in the last 65 years. At the plate, he homered. Twice.

Neither achievement in and of itself makes Wise’s performance so remarkable. Plenty of pitchers have tossed no-hitters—and some have even made them perfect games. Others have homered multiple times in a game. But Wise is the only person to do both at the same time. Oh, and he did it against the defending NL champs.

His two home runs accounted for three of the team’s four runs on the day. He first went deep in the top of the fifth with one out and a runner on second base. That turned a 1-0 lead over the Reds to a 3-0 lead. At the same time, he was pitching a perfect game, having retired the first 12 batters faced all game.

He retired the side again in the fifth inning: 15 up, 15 down. In the sixth inning, Wise made his only mistake of the game: a one-out walk to Dave Concepcion for the day’s only base runner. He retired the remaining 11 batters he faced, and along the way bashed a leadoff home run in the top of the eighth inning.

The game ended when Pete Rose stepped to the plate. Just think: Cincinnati’s last chance for a hit was from baseball’s all-time hit leader. Seems appropriate. Rose had been the toughest out of the night, as he had the Reds’ only line out, back in the fourth inning. Here in the ninth, he had the second line shot of the night, but it was caught by Philadelphia third baseman John Vukovich to end the game.

Among other things, the win gave the 25-year-old Wise a career .500 record: 66-66. He was a better pitcher than his record indicated, though. The Phillies weren’t a very good team back then, and also Wise got a very young start, making his major league debut at age 18. (Think for a second: How many 25-year-olds have 132 career decisions? Not too many).

In fact, the St. Louis Cardinals thought so much of Wise that they traded Steve Carlton for him straight up after the 1971 season. Turns out they badly overestimated Wise’s worth, and/or greatly underestimated Carlton’s value.

Though Carlton had a far greater career, Wise had the greatest single game.

Random Rick Wise fact: He was also the first pitcher in major league history to defeat all 26 teams. Eventually nine guys did it between the 1977 and 1993 rounds of expansion, but Wise was the first.

Here are some other events celebrating their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is an event happening X-thousand days ago) today. The better ones are in bold for the convenience of anyone who just wants to graze:

Day-versaries

7,000 days since the Mets defeated the Cardinals 1-0 in 13 innings on a rare walk-off HBP. St. Louis reliever Juan Agosto plunked New York’s Darryl Boston.

15,000 days since the Reds stranded 16 runners—all in the game’s first eight innings, but won on Bobby Tolan’s walk-off home run in the ninth: Reds 6, Expos 4.

15,000 days sine Mike Cuellar fanned four batters in the fourth inning.

30,000 days since the first Sunday home game for the Boston Braves. 35,000 saw them lose 7-2 to the Pirates.

Anniversaries

1879 major league debut: Hall of Fame slugger Dan Brouthers.

1885 Jimmy Macullar of Baltimore hits into a walk-off triple play against Philadelphia in the American Association.

1888 Major league debut: Hugh Duffy, Hall of Fame center fielder.

1894 George Weiss, Hall of Fame front office executive who helped create the Yankees farm system, born.

1895 Chicago Cubs arrested for “aiding and abetting the forming of a noisy crowd on Sunday.” The team owner posts their bond and they play the game anyway.

1895 Roger Connor hits his 123rd and 124th career home runs, passing Harry Stovey to become baseball’s all-time home run king. Connor remains the home run king until Babe Ruth. So it goes: Stovey to Connor to Ruth to Aaron to Bonds.

1897 Major league debut: Jack Powell, one of the only 200-game winners with a losing career record.

1906 Harry Howell tosses a shutout despite allowing 11 hits. Browns 9, Indians 0.

1910 Giants third baseman Art Devlin arrested after assaulting a heckler in Brooklyn.

1915 A’s pitcher Bruno Haas makes an inauspicious major league debut, walking a record 16 batters in 15-7 loss to the Yankees. In fact, it’s such an inauspicious debut that he never pitches in major league baseball again.

1915 Ty Cobb steals home against the Browns. It’s the fifth time he’s stolen home this month. Not bad.

1916 Tom Seaton, Cubs pitcher, helps his own cause in 2-1 win over the Reds by stealing home in the sixth inning.

1917 Ernie Shore’s non-perfect game of a perfect game. Babe Ruth is the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, and is ejected almost right away for arguing with the umpire after a leadoff walk in the first inning. Shore came in, picked off the runner on first and retired each of the next 26 batters. This is arguably the most famous relief performance of all time, and for years was listed in the record books as a perfect game.

1919 Gavvy Cravath hits four doubles in a game, tying a major league record. It’s the second time he’s hit four doubles in a game.

1920 Fred Luderus takes the day off, ending his consecutive games played streak at 533.

1922 Hall of Fame outfielder Harry Hooper belts a walk-off inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the 10th inning.

1925 Carl Mays, one of the best pitchers not in the Hall of Fame, loses his 100th game: 172-100.

1926 In just his 1,462nd game played, Rogers Hornsby laces his 2,000th hit.

1926 Eppa Rixey surrenders the only pinch-hit homer of his 4,494.2-i9nning career. It’s an inside the park home run in the top of the 10th inning with two on and two out hit by Chuck Tolson
.

1927 Lou Gehrig hits three home runs in a game, the first time he’s ever done that.

1930 Gehrig gets his 1,000th hit.

1930 Al Simmons goes 5-for-5 with two home runs and five runs scored. It’s his second game scoring five runs.

1930 The Brooklyn Dodgers crack 10 consecutive hits against the Pirates—all with two outs. The streak ends when a batter is tagged out at the plate. Babe Herman hit two homers in that inning. I assume the first was before the consecutive hit barrage.

1931 Hall of Fame second baseman Tony Lazzeri steals three bases in one game for the only time in his career.

1932 Goose Goslin hits three home runs in one game and has a career high seven RBI as his Browns beat the Yankees 14-10.

1933 Joe Cronin has his fifth straight multi-hit game. He’s got 13 hits in his last three games and 15 in the last four, both setting league records.

1934 Babe Ruth goes hitless for his eighth straight game. He’d never gone more than five games before without a hit (though he’ll go nine straight games next year without one).

1939 Hank Greenberg collects his 1,000th hit.

1940 Bucky Walters accidentally beans Billy Jurges on the head with a pitch. Jurges has to spend the next six days in the hospital. For his part, Walters has to leave the game he’s so shaken up..

1943 During the Detroit race riot occurring at this time, 350 troops stationed in Briggs Stadium.

1946 Eddie Waitkus and Marv Rickert hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs for the Cubs, who lose 15-10 anyway.

1950 Joe McCarthy, probably the greatest manager in baseball history, resigns as Red Sox manager, ending his illustrious career.

1950 Luke Easter hits reportedly the longest home run ever hit at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. It lands in the right field upper deck, about 477 feet from home plate.

1950 Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 10-9 in a game featuring a record 11 home runs, including four in one inning by Detroit (including one by pitcher Dizzy Trout).

1951 A first-inning single by Ralph Kiner ruins what is otherwise a no-hit game by Don Newcombe. Dodgers 13, Pirates 1.

1954 Orioles beat Red Sox 8-7 in wild 17-inning game. It ends on a walk-off error, one of the longest games to ever end like that. The game featured 42 players, 38 left on base, and a triple play.

1954 Major league debut: Harmon Killebrew.

1956 Don Zimmer hit in face with a pitch by Hal Jeffcoat, breaking his cheekbone. It’s the second time a HBP nearly ends his career. In the minors, a beaning nearly killed him.

1958 Willie Mays collects his 1,000th hit. It took him 825 games.

1958 The Milwaukee Braves introduce one of the greatest traditions that has since gone by the wayside: the bullpen car. Don McMahon is the first man to use it, as he arrives to the mound in the sidecar of a motor scooter.

1960 In a trade of future managers, the Phillies send Alvin Dark to Milwaukee for Joe Morgan (not the Hall of Famer, the future Red Sox skipper).

1961 The Twins fire manager Cookie Lavagetto and replace him with Sam Mele.

1961 Pirates blow a 9-0 lead to the Phillies, and lose 12-11. Philadelphia scored four in the top of the eighth and six in the top of the ninth for the win.

1961 Stan Musial, age 40, ties his career high with seven RBI in one game, going 2-for-4 with a pair of homers and an intentional walk.

1962 Larry Doby signs to play with Japanese team.

1963 Orlando Cepeda gets his 1,000th career hit.

1963 Dick Stuart (AKA Dr. Strangeglove) gets a standing ovation from the crowd when he cleanly handles three grounders in one inning.

1963 Jimmy Piersall celebrates his 100th career home run in memorable manner: running the bases backwards.

1963 The Houston Astros are shut out for the fourth consecutive game. They finally end their streak by scoring a run in the second game of this day’s doubleheader, after 40 straight scoreless frames.

1964 Charlie Lau gets two pinch hits in one inning.

1966 Billy Williams recorded his 1,000th hit.

1968 Jim Bunning loses his career-worst seventh consecutive decision. His numbers in that spell: 0-7, 8 G, 8 GS, 45 IP, 55 H, 27 R, 24 ER, 17 BB, 23 K for a 4.80 ERA.

1968 Juan Marichal has maybe his best day at the plate ever: going 3-for-3 with a sacrifice hit. It’s his only three-hit game.

1968 Luis Tiant tosses his fifth complete game shutout in his last six starts. He’ll end the year with a record for lowest opponents’ batting average in a season (since broken).

1970 The Cubs purchase Milt Pappas from the Braves.

1970 Houston trades relief pitcher Mike Marshall to the Expos.

1971 Padres reliever Bob Miller wins two games in one day over the Astros.

1972 San Diego hurler Steve Arlin, who tossed a two-hitter in his last start against the Pirates, pitches a one-hitter against the Giants.

1973 Fred Norman, Reds pitcher, is one out away from his third consecutive complete game shutout since joining Cincinnati only to have Ron Cey hit a home run: CIN 4, LAD 1. This also is the first game Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Cey start together as Dodger infielders. They’ll be the longest lasting infielder foursome in history, staying together into the early 1980s.

1973 Phillies pitcher Ken Brett homers in his fourth consecutive game.

1975 Red Sox release Tim McCarver.

1976 Dodgers trade their iron man reliever Mike Marshall to the Braves

1976 Lon Warneke, ace pitcher of the 1930s, dies.

1977 The Los Angeles Times quotes A’s owner Charles Finely saying “We run our club like a pawn shop—we buy, we trade, we sell.”

1977 Eddie Stanky, named Texas Rangers manager just yesterday, says he’s stepping down. Now that the excitement of the new job has worn off, he realizes he’s just lonely and homesick.

1978 Major league debut: Brian Milner. At 18, the Toronto catcher is the youngest player to start in the AL between 1962 and 1994.

1979 DH be damned, bunt happy Gene Mauch has the Twins lay down five sacrifice hits in one game, tying a Mauch-team record.

1981 The longest game ever ends: Pawtucket 3, Rochester 2 (33).

1983 Carney Lansford becomes his generation’s Wally Pipp. He severely sprains his ankle, causing the Red Sox to turn to backup Wade Boggs. Lansford never gets the job back in Boston.

1984 The Ryne Sandberg Game. On the nationally broadcast Game of the Week, the Cubs second baseman becomes an instant star, driving in seven runs off five hits, including a pair of game-tying home runs off Bruce Sutter as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-11 in extra innings. Lost in the mix, St. Louis’ Willie McGee hits for the cycle that day. Sandberg’s WPA is a career-best 1.063.

1986 Bert Blyleven ties his career worst Game Score: 7. His line: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 0 K.

1986 The Phillies demolish the Cubs 19-1, thanks to 15 extra base hits, an NL record.

1988 For the fifth and final time, George Steinbrenner fires Billy Martin.

1990 Dwight Evans posts his best one-game WPA: 1.143 (even better than Sandberg in his game) by going 3-for-5 with two homers, two runs, and three RBI in Boston’s 4-3 win over Baltimore in 10 innings. The key shot is a walk-off, two-run homer with two outs in the 10th.

1993 Major league debut: Aaron Sele.

1994 Bobby Witt narrowly misses a perfect game while fanning 14. He allows one hit, a sixth-inning infield single by Greg Gagne—and replays show that Gagne was out. A’s win, 4-0.

1994 Marv Eugene Thorneberry, lousy player who symbolized the 1962 Mets right down to his initials, dies.

1994 Senate Judiciary Committee fails to approve anti-trust legislation with regards to major league baseball by 10-7 vote. Union chief Don Fehr says this means a strike will happen.

1996 Tommy Lasorda manages his last game.

1998 Barry Larkin, age 34, hits two triples in one game. It’s the third time he’s done that.

1999 Larry Walker homers in the fifth straight game.

2001 Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon snaps. After catcher Jason Kendall called out on a close play at first, McClendon rips out the base and carries it back to the dugout.

2001 Manny Ramirez hits two home runs that travel a total 964 feet: 463 and 501 feet respectively. He also leaves the bases loaded twice.

2003 Barry Bonds steals his 500th base.

2007 Rod Beck dies

2010 Marlins fire manager Fredi Gonzalez.

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Comments

  1. Chris J. said...

    Nate, 

    I think it was .578, when hitting and pitching are added together.

    It’s hard to get a great WPA in a nine-inning shutout.

  2. Greg Simons said...

    “1964 Charlie Lau gets two pinch hits in one inning.”

    How did that happen?  Once you’ve pinch hit, you’re either put in the game as a position player or youre done, right?

  3. Chris J. said...

    Greg – it happens if the team bats a round or more in the inning.  I know Cliff Johnson once got a home run in his second pinch hit in an inning.

  4. Paul E said...

    Chris:
      In Septemeber 18, 1971 I attended a Cubs – Phillies game in which Rick Wise struggled early and eventually settled down. Really settled down. He retired 35 consecutive Cubs after surrendering three early runs and won a complete game start in extra innings….
      The game can be found at Retrosheet. If I wasn’t such a dope, I could figure out how to attach the link. Wise also had three hits in the game

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