The 2020 MLB season is on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, so we’ve got some time to burn and a baseball void to fill. Fortunately, there are decades of Oakland A’s history to look back on, and even rerunball is better than no ball at all. Let’s reminisce!
Here’s the latest “this date in history” from A’s info manager Mike Selleck:
May 7 is the first of three straight #ThisDateInAthleticsHistory with a no-hitter. In 2019, Mike Fiers tosses his second career no-hitter in the A’s 2-0 win over Cincinnati…it is the 13th no-hitter in Athletics history, the eighth since the club moved to Oakland in 1968.— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) May 7, 2020
Get ready for a no-hitter marathon in our This Date series, beginning with the most recent one. A year ago today, Mike Fiers threw a no-no against the Cincinnati Reds. At the time we put together the 27 best things from the historic night, but here are some of the highlights.
The masterpiece was the second no-hitter of Fiers’ career, making him the 35th pitcher in history to author more than one (and only the seventh to do it for more than one franchise). It was the eighth in Oakland history and the 13th in A’s franchise history, and it was also the team’s second in as many years, as Sean Manaea tossed one against the Red Sox in April 2018.
The game almost wasn’t played at all. The left-field lights malfunctioned, causing a 98-minute delay before first pitch — the problem was resolved just 15 minutes before the hard deadline to give up and postpone the whole thing. The contest finally began at 8:45, though Fiers’ gem helped limit it to a 2:25 run time. (“The A’s don’t need light when they have Fiers,” punned beat writer Julian McWilliams at the time.) Here’s a montage of all 27 outs:
Ironically, the Reds’ only baserunner for the first six innings came on an error by Matt Chapman, the best defensive player in the sport. Meanwhile, one of the hit-robbing defensive highlights came from Jurickson Profar, who was the team’s worst fielder. What’s more, Profar was also one of the league’s worst hitters, but he drove in both of Oakland’s runs in the 2-0 victory.
The Reds almost got on the board in the 6th. Joey Votto launched a fly deep to center that cleared the wall, but Ramon Laureano was there to leap and pull it back, robbing the home run. Every no-hitter seems to have a mammoth defensive highlight that saves the day, and this was it — it also saved the shutout, and even the lead at the time. The Reds drew a pair of walks in the 7th (and one of them was eliminated in a double play), but those and Chapman’s error proved to be their only runners of the evening.
As cool as the no-hitter is, though, perhaps the most impressive part of Fiers’ performance was getting Votto to pop out in the 1st inning. Depending how you measure it, this was arguably only the ninth time Votto had ever popped out in the infield in his career, in 13 seasons and nearly 7,000 plate appearances. Meanwhile, it was the 41st no-hitter thrown in the majors during that time span, including two by Fiers alone. You be the judge of which feat is more rare and amazing.
In the end, Fiers needed 131 pitches to complete his no-no, none of them registering above 92.1 mph — his fastball averaged only 89.9 mph. Here’s the full box score, with the Reds failing to record a hit in 29 trips to the plate.
“How did this one feel different to you?” Fiers was asked after the game in relation to his first career no-no, back in 2015 for the Astros.
“Just a little older, really,” replied Fiers.
Here’s the call of the last out, from radio voice Ken Korach.
In an amazing coincidence, the next two days also hold the anniversaries of two more A’s no-hitters. But for now, let’s take a moment to bask in a particularly recent memory, the night when Fiers extinguished the Reds.
More this-date tweets from Selleck, over the past few days:
- 5/2: On May 2, 1975 Reggie Jackson collects his 1000th hit in an Oakland uniform in the A’s 4-3 win at Chicago…in 2012 Brian Fuentes records his 200th career save in the A’s 4-2 win at Boston to become the sixth lefty in MLB history with 200 saves.
- 5/3: On May 3, 1980 Wayne Gross and Dwayne Murphy both steal home in the A’s 5-3 win against Detroit…Murphy’s comes as part of a triple steal with Gross and Mitchell Page.
- 5/4: On May 4, 1935 Jimmie Foxx scores five runs in the A’s 12-1 victory over Cleveland…in 1969 John “Blue Moon” Odom is 3 for 3 with a homer and six RBI in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Seattle and picks up the win in the A’s 11-7 victory.
- 5/5: A good one and a painful one for May 5. In 1939 Sam Chapman hits for the cycle and then homers in his first two at bats the following day…in 2000 the A’s score 16 runs at Texas but lose 17-16, setting an AL record for runs scored in a loss.
- 5/6: Happy Mark Mulder/Mark Buehrle day. On May 6, 2003 Mulder tosses his third consecutive complete game as the A’s defeat Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox 6-0 in 1 hour and 49 minutes…that is the A’s fastest game since August 12, 1979.