Hey baseball fans!
Just a couple of days ago was Opening Day for the 2015 Major League Baseball season! In honor of this, I want to tell you a little bit about one of the best Opening Day performances of all time. So, I invite you on a magical journey to 1943, where together we will witness the superhuman feats of Reds pitcher and master of the no-hitter, Johnny Vander Meer.
John Samuel Vander Meer had a very respectable pitching career with the Reds, Indians, and Cubs from 1937-1951 (he missed 1944-1945 due to the army). His claim to fame is that he is the only pitcher in history to throw two no-hitters in two consecutive starts, which he accomplished on June 11 and 15, 1938. However, those weren't the only stellar starts he had during his 13-year career. In fact, his Opening Day start in 1943 against the Cardinals is ranked as one of the greatest performances on Opening Day in MLB history.
Vander Meer took the mound for the Cincinnati Reds on April 21, 1943 to face the St. Louis Cardinals and their starting pitcher, Mort Cooper (pictured below), at Crosley Field in Cinci in front of roughly 27,000 excited fans. Although the spectators probably wanted a slugfest, they got the complete opposite of it. Johnny was doing great after eleven straight innings of shutout baseball, but Mort was doing just the same, until he gave up a walk-off single to Reds right fielder Max Marshall that won the game for the Queen City, 1-0. It was a valiant effort on both sides, but it was Vander Meer who got the win, while Cooper was stuck with the loss. Besides not giving up a single earned run, Johnny Vander Meer also kept the Cards off the base paths, only giving up two hits and five walks to go along with his three strikeouts. Not a bad way to start the season!!
Johnny went on to have a pretty good season in 1943, going to the All Star Game and finishing the season with a record of 15-16 and a league-leading 174 strikeouts. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."