The Hit Miser Strikes Again

 

Lights Out: Sam McDowell Pitches Back-to-Back One-Hitters

 

When: May 1, 1966

Where: Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game Time: 2.51

Attendance: 9,655

He came into the 1966 season as the reigning American League champion in strikeouts (325 in 1965) and ERA (2.18). And Sam McDowell started out the 1966 season proving he was not only the league’s most overpowering pitcher, but also, at his best, almost unhittable.

Sam McDowell pitched back-to-back one-hit shutouts in 1966.

Sam McDowell pitched back-to-back one-hit shutouts in 1966.

McDowell opened the season with 3 victories in his 4 April starts, including a complete game victory over the New York Yankees and a one-hit shutout against the Kansas City Athletics. Six days following his one-hitter, he faced the Chicago White Sox and did what only three major league pitchers had done before.

McDowell squared off against White Sox left-hander Tommy John, who had won 14 games for Chicago in 1965 after being acquired from the Indians the previous winter. After pitching a scoreless first inning, John gave up a two-out double to Pedro Gonzalez. The next Tribe batter, shortstop Larry Brown, singled to drive in Gonzalez.

It would be the only run of the game.

John would allow only four more hits in pitching through the seventh inning. Reliever Bob Locker pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the White Sox. But allowing even one run wouldn’t be good enough against McDowell that day.

McDowell not only pitched his second consecutive shutout that day (and third consecutive complete game), but also tossed his second consecutive one-hitter, a feat that hadn’t been done since Lon Warneke pitched back-to-back one-hitters in 1934. (Of course, Johnny Vander Meer pitched back-to-back no-hitters in 1938.) McDowell faced 34 White Sox batters, striking out 10 (for the second consecutive game) and walking five. The only White Sox hit came in the third inning when Don Buford doubled.

Prior to McDowell, the last pitcher to throw consecutive one-hitters was Lon Warneke in 1934.

Prior to McDowell, the last pitcher to throw consecutive one-hitters was Lon Warneke in 1934.

McDowell would win only five more games the rest of the season. Ongoing shoulder problems reduced his number of starts, and generally feeble support from Cleveland bats limited McDowell to only a 9-8 season, even with five shutouts, a league-leading 225 strikeouts and a 2.87 ERA.

 

 

Top_10_Pitchers_Cover

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

 

Ringin’ Out the Wins

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Gary Bell

Gary Bell started out his career as a hard-throwing starter, relying on heat and guts while pitching for struggling Cleveland Indians teams. He gradually evolved into one of the American League’s most effective middle relievers with off-speed pitches that helped him get more out of less fastball.

Gary Bell was a versatile pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, effective as both a starter and a reliever. He led the team with 16 saves in 1965, then was oved into the starting rotation in 1966, winning 14 games with a 3.22 ERA.

Gary Bell was a versatile pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, effective as both a starter and a reliever. He led the team with 16 saves in 1965, then was moved into the starting rotation in 1966, winning 14 games with a 3.22 ERA.

Bell was signed by the Indians and was pitching in the majors three years later, going 12-10 with a 3.31 ERA as an Indians starter. In 1959, again as mostly a starter for the Tribe, Bell went 16-11 with a 4.04 ERA

His record slipped to 9-10 in 1960 and 12-16 in 1961. In 1962, he was moved back to the Indians bullpen, going 10-9 with 12 saves. During the next three seasons, working almost exclusively in relief, Bell went 22-16 with a combined 3.42 ERA. The 1965 campaign produced career highs in both appearances (60) and saves (17).

In 1966, Bell returned to the Indians’ starting rotation, posting a 14-15 record with a 3.22 ERA. He led the Indians pitching staff in games started (37), complete games (12), and finished fifth in the American League (and second on the team to league-leader Sam McDowell) with a career-best 194 strikeouts.

Bell opened the 1967 season as a starter and lost five of his first six decisions for Cleveland before being traded to the Boston Red Sox for Tony Horton and Don Demeter. He went 12-8 the rest of the way for the pennant-winning Bosox, and followed up with an 11-11 season for Boston in 1968.

Acquired by the Boston Red Sox early in the 1967 season, Gary Bell played a prominent role in the team’s successful pennant push. Bell was 12-8 for the Red Sox, and saved two critical games in September.

Acquired by the Boston Red Sox early in the 1967 season, Gary Bell played a prominent role in the team’s successful pennant push. Bell was 12-8 for the Red Sox, and saved two critical games in September.

The Seattle Pilots selected Bell in the expansion draft prior to the 1969 season, and he went 2-6 for Seattle before being traded to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Bob Locker. He appeared in 23 games for the White Sox with no decisions before being released and retiring.

Bell ended his career with a 121-117 record with a 3.68 ERA over 12 seasons. He was a three-time All-Star: in 1960, 1966 and 1968.

 

Top_10_Pitchers_Cover

 

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download