July 1, 1951 – Bob Feller’s Third No-Hitter (Not a Shutout)
On the first Sunday in July, the Tigers were visiting Municipal Stadium. Bob Feller was on the mound facing Detroit’s Bob Cain.
With runners on second and third in the bottom of the first, Luke Easter grounded to short scoring Dale Mitchell from third.
In the Detroit half of the first, Tigers shortstop Johnny Lipon reached on an error by Tribe shortstop Ray Boone. With Jerry Priddy at the plate, Lipon stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw by Dick Kryhoski. Lipon scored on a sacrifice fly by George Kell, tying the game at 1-1.
Feller issued two walks, but otherwise had the Tigers offense locked down. Feller later remarked to the Plain Dealer, “My fast ball and curve were nothing to brag about so I was depending on the slider most of the time. The fast one got better as the game moved along and I used it quite a bit in the late innings.”
In the bottom of the eighth, Sam Chapman had a one-out triple. Milt Neilson replaced him as a pinch runner. Luke Easter drove in the winning run with a single to right field which scored Neilson easily.
Feller faced the heart of the Tigers batting order in the top of the ninth. He got Charlie Keller and George Kell to fly out to right and left field, respectively. Vic Wertz was up with the Tigers down to their last out. A month earlier, Wertz broke up Bob Lemon’s bid for a perfect game. Feller struck out Wertz looking to end the game and earn his third no hitter.
As of this entry, there have been 300 no-hitters officially recognized by Major League Baseball. 257 of them are in the time-scope of this Project (since 1901). Three career No-Hitters was the record at that time and brought Feller into rare air with Cy Young and Larry Corcoran (of the 1880s White Stockings). Sandy Koufax recorded his fourth No-No in 1965, and Nolan Ryan surpassed them all, eventually marking his seventh in 1991.
According to Baseball Reference, there have been ten recognized No-Hitters that were not shutouts. Fellers was the second after Dazzy Vance and the Brooklyn Robins No-Hit the Phillies but Phillies first basemen Chicken Hawks scored an unearned run via an E7 and a sacrifice fly in Game 134 of 1925.
The most recent victims of the No-Hit non-shutout are the Indians themselves. Irvin Santana of the Angels No-Hit the Tribe in Game 102 of the 2011 campaign However, Eziquiel Carrera reached on an E6, stole second, advanced to third on an Asdrubal Cabrera groundout, and scored on a wild pitch.