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Today in Blue Jays History: Dave Stieb Throws No-Hitter

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Toronto Blue Jays

31 Years Ago Today

Blue Jays starter Dave Stieb had taken no-hitters into the 9th inning three times, so I would imagine that when Stieb walked to the mound in the ninth, on September 2, 1990, in Cleveland, he was wondering ‘what will happen this time.’ The first three times:

  • On September 24, 1988, in Cleveland, Julio Franco hit a grounder that took a surprisingly high hope and went over second baseman Manny Lee’s head.
  • In Stieb’s next start, in Toronto against the Orioles, Jim Traber hit a 2-out soft fly that landed between the infielders and outfielders.
  • On August 4, 1989, in the first season of SkyDome, with 2-outs in the ninth inning,g of could have been a perfect game, Roberto Kelly lines a double up the gap.

But the fourth time was the charm.

In the ninth, Stieb:

  • Got pinch-hitter Chris James to fly out (a pretty deep fly out).
  • Struck out pinch-hitter Candy Maldonado.
  • Walked Alex Cole (Stieb walked 4, unusual for him).
  • And he induced Jerry Browne to fly/line out to right fielder Junior Felix.

Here is the final out:

Cleveland didn’t exactly have a ‘murderer’s row’ back in 1990. Their clean-up hitter, Ken Phelps (likely more famous for a mention in Seinfeld than his baseball career), was hitting .155/.288/.198 at the time. Moreover, 5 of their starters had OPS numbers lower than .700.

Stieb didn’t feel he was at his best that day. From the Toronto Star game story:

I didn’t have great control. I couldn’t find my release point in the early innings. I hung pitches but got away with them. They helped me out a few times by swinging at bad pitches. They hit balls right at people.

The win was Stieb’s 17th of the season, against 5 losses. He finished the game with a 2.91 ERA. He would finish the season 18-6 with a 2.93 ERA, his most wins in a season, setting a new team-high.

I was a massive fan of Stieb. He was competitive. He would have been a good match for Jose Bautista, but, unlike Jose, he would stare down teammates that make mistakes. It is too bad that we didn’t have a better team when he was at the top of his game. I’m not sure if he was a bad teammate in other ways, but I’d imagine that behavior wouldn’t endear himself to the others on his team.

But I wasn’t on the team, and I just saw him as the best player on my team and the best pitcher in baseball at the time. I admired his drive to win. And, for most of his career, there weren’t many other Jays worth cheering.

It is still the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history.

Toronto Blue Jays Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS Details
Mookie Wilson DH 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .264 .304 .354 .658
Tony Fernandez SS 4 0 2 0 0 0 4 .258 .343 .377 .720 CS
Kelly Gruber 3B 3 0 0 0 1 1 4 .261 .315 .474 .788
Fred McGriff 1B 4 2 2 2 0 0 4 .309 .416 .565 .981 2·HR
Pat Borders C 4 0 1 0 0 1 4 .293 .325 .514 .838
Glenallen Hill LF 4 0 1 0 0 2 4 .235 .287 .449 .736
Ken Williams CF 4 1 1 0 0 0 4 .153 .203 .197 .400 2B
Manuel Lee 2B 4 0 1 1 0 0 4 .242 .281 .346 .627 2B
Junior Felix RF 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 .271 .340 .458 .798
Dave Stieb P
Team Totals 34 3 8 3 1 6 35 .235 .257 .471 .728
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2021.
Cleveland Indians Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS Details
Alex Cole CF 2 0 0 0 2 0 4 .328 .404 .388 .792 CS
Jerry Browne 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .266 .339 .372 .711
Dion James LF 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 .276 .347 .371 .718
Ken Phelps DH 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .155 .288 .198 .486
Brook Jacoby 1B 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 .283 .358 .418 .776
Carlos Baerga SS 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .240 .285 .362 .647 CS
Cory Snyder RF 3 0 0 0 0 2 3 .234 .266 .402 .668
Tom Brookens 3B 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 .235 .288 .311 .598
Chris James PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .299 .343 .444 .788
Joel Skinner C 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 .250 .289 .324 .614
Candy Maldonado PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .269 .330 .437 .767
Bud Black P
Jesse Orosco P
Steve Olin P
Team Totals 25 0 0 0 4 9 29 .000 .138 .000 .138
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2021.
Toronto Blue Jays Table
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str Ctct StS StL GB FB LD Unk GSc
Dave Stieb, W (17-5) 9 0 0 0 4 9 0 2.91 29 123 75 35 17 23 6 10 1 0 92
Team Totals 9 0 0 0 4 9 0 0.00 29 123 75 35 17 23 6 10 1 0 92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2021.
Cleveland Indians Table
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str Ctct StS StL GB FB LD Unk GSc
Bud Black, L (10-9) 7 5 2 2 1 5 1 3.63 27 121 79 56 13 10 8 13 2 0 63
Jesse Orosco 1 2 1 1 0 1 1 3.72 4 18 9 6 1 2 0 3 1 0
Steve Olin 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4.04 4 8 5 4 1 0 3 1 1 0
Team Totals 9 8 3 3 1 6 2 3.00 35 147 93 66 15 12 11 17 4 0 63
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2021.