April 29, 1931 – Wes Farrell Throws No-Hitter and Hits Home Run
Wes Ferrell is regarded by many baseball historians as the greatest hitting pitcher who remained a pitcher throughout his career (therefore, excluding one Babe Ruth). He was often used as a pinch-hitter in clutch situations. On the 1931 squad his home run total was outpaced only by Earl Averill and Ed Morgan.
On a Wednesday afternoon at League Park, Jim Levey led off for the Saint Louis Browns. Levey reached first on a booted ground ball by Bruce Hunnefield at shortstop. Ferrell’s superb pitching would hold the Browns scoreless despite two additional errors by Hunnefield.
He recorded eight strikeouts in the course of the no hitter, scattering only three walks. In the top of the 7th, already up 4-0, Ferrell helped out his own cause. He hit a two-run home run into the League Park stands to extend the lead to 6-0.
In an odd twist of family history, Wes recorded two outs against his own brother–Hall of Fame catcher Rick Ferrell–who grounded out in the third, and sixth innings. In the top of the eighth, Rick had the opportunity to break up his brother’s no hitter.
“I didn’t want a base hit, but I had to get up there.”Rick Ferrell on facing his brother deep into the No-Hitter
Rick hit a line drive down the third-base line. Browns third baseman Johnny Burnett dove to make the catch, but came up without the ball. The hapless Hunnefield was backing him up. He picked up the ball and threw to first base for a bang-bang play.
Rick Farrell was initially called safe at first. The official scorer then ruled that Hunnefield’s throw pulled first baseman Lew Fonseca away from the bag–a throwing error. The no-hitter was preserved, but not without controversy.
Despite the recent ascendancy of hitting pitchers like Madison Bumgardner and Shohei Ohtani, Wes Ferrell’s 37 home runs as a pitcher are likely to stand as an enduring record in MLB history.
Honorable Mention: April 18, 2009 – 14-run inning against Yankees