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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|