Bob Feller ends the Cleveland Indians’ no-hitter drought at three years and one day as he tosses the third and final no-no of his career in a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Stadium in game one of a Sunday doubleheader.
The win for Feller was his eleventh of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.75 on the year. He allowed just one unearned run in the fourth and made two runs of support stand up on the mound. He walked three and struck out five while committing one of the Indians’ two errors in the game.
Cleveland got on the board in the first on an RBI-groundout from Luke Easter, scoring Dale Mitchell from third after his leadoff single. Detroit tied it up in the fourth when Johnny Lipon reached on an error at short, then stole second and advanced to third on the throwing error from Feller. A sacrifice fly from George Kell knocked in the tying run.
The game remained deadlocked at one until the eighth. Sam Chapman tripled to right with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Milt Nielsen, who scored on a single to right by Easter.
With his first lead since the fourth, Feller induced a pair of flyouts from Charlie Keller and Kell before Vic Wertz stepped to the plate. The left-handed slugger had ended Bob Lemon’s bid for a perfect game a month earlier. Against Feller, he fouled off the first pitch before cutting and missing on strike two. He took three straight balls, one wide, one high, and one inside, before fouling off pitch six into the stands down the right side. Feller fired off a slider to the outside corner, called strike three by umpire Charley Berry, for the dramatic ending to his historic effort.
“Berry signaled but didn’t say anything,” said Feller after the game in a quote from The Plain Dealer. “I remember the day down here when I struck out Chet Laabs [strikeout victim 18 in his record-breaking game from 1938]. Big Cal Hubbard bellowed so loud that you could hear it in the outfield.”
His third career no-hitter joined his ten career one-hitters at the time.
“My fast ball and curve were nothing to brag about so I was depending on the slider most of the time,” Feller shared after the game in a quote in The Plain Dealer. “The fast one got better as the game moved along and I used it quite a bit in the late innings.
“They all looked tough,” he continued about his competition in the ninth, “but I guess I feared Kell most. He uses a light bat and is able to connect on any pitch for a hit. I figured Keller and Wertz would be going for that long ball.
“With a one-run lead I couldn’t risk putting anybody on. The game was so tight all the way that it kept me going all out and that probably was a good thing.”
Rookie Bob Chakales threw his first MLB shutout in the second game, a four-hitter in a 2-0 victory.