Fighting through the rain, Indians pitcher Don Black tosses the first no-hitter ever at Municipal Stadium as the Cleveland Indians defeat the Philadelphia Athletics, 3-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Black walked six and struck out five in his complete game shutout, winning his seventh game of the year to pull the Indians back to the .500 mark at 32-32. A perfect game was never in question, as he walked each of the first two batters of the game before a strikeout and a pair of groundouts got him out of the jam. He walked batters in each of the first four innings and again in the sixth, but never was threatened, as the Indians scored all three runs in a quick barrage in the bottom of the second, when Jim Hegan singled home Eddie Robinson, Black followed with an RBI-sacrifice that scored Joe Gordon, and George Metkovich drove in Hegan with a single to center. Gordon aided Black’s cause with a spectacular catch at full sprint in right field with his back to home plate.
Black got to make the final out of the game when Sam Chapman bounced one back to him. He threw to Robinson at first to get the final out of the first no-hitter in the American League that season and his third career no-hitter, matching a pair thrown in the Virginia League in 1940 and again in 1941.
“That last ball came back to me as big as a balloon,” shared a smiling Black with reporters and photographers, captured in the July 11 edition of The Plain Dealer. “For my money that was the best catch Robbie ever made.
“It was my slider that did it. I hadn’t thrown since Friday [July 4] and couldn’t seem to get loosened up for the first few innings. Then the slider started going where I wanted it and I was out in front most of the time.”
It was a remarkable outing for the right-handed Black, given all that he had overcome over the previous year. After spending the beginning of his career with the A’s, he joined the Indians in 1946 but was ultimately farmed out to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he later disappeared and was suspended from the team and later was found to be battling alcoholism. He began the 1947 season with the club sober.
His career would wrap in a life-changing event on the field on September 13, 1948, when after fouling a pitch off during the second inning of a game against the St. Louis Browns, he collapsed at the plate. He was able to walk off the field but would lose consciousness later and was taken to the hospital, where he fell into a coma. He would recover from what was a cerebral hemorrhage, but would never play again.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1920 – Tris Speaker’s streak of eleven straight hits without being retired is ended by Washington’s Tom Zachary. It will be a MLB record until 1938.
1932 – Johnny Burnett gets nine hits in eleven at bats in an 18-inning loss to the Philadelphia Athletics, 18-17.
1934 – Several Indians step up big in the second All-Star Game. Mel Harder gives the American League team five shutout innings and Earl Averill drives in three in the AL’s 9-7 victory.
1967 – Lee Stevens is born in Kansas City, Missouri. He spent the final 53 games of his MLB career in Cleveland after being acquired in a massive trade with Montreal Expos that sent him and three prospects (Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore) to the Indians for pitchers Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.
1969 – Marty Cordova, a former AL Rookie of the Year who spent one season with the Indians in 2001, is born in Las Vegas, Nevada. He hit 20 homers and drove in 69 while hitting .301 in 122 games.