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No-Nos

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  July 30, 2008 10:35 AM

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John Lackey unleashes the pitch that Dustin Pedroia bounced into left field with one out in the ninth inning to end the no-hit bid. (Jim Rogash / Getty Images)

Welcome to the Pity Party.

You're damn right I was rooting for John Lackey to get the No-No on Tuesday night. I was there. I mean, it's not as if the Red Sox were losing 1-0 or 2-0. They were down 6-0, going nowhere, so pardon me if I was rooting, and rooting hard, to see the first no-hit, no-run game of any description since a Lawrenceville School kid named Pete Thurston threw one in 1964. I call 44 years a sufficient enough wait.

Yes, I have covered a no-hit game. But it wasn't a no-run game. I was in Anaheim on the September night in 1986 when White Sox right hander Joe Cowley threw an ugly No, but no No-No, against the Angels. He walked seven, for God's sake, and gave up a run.

After the game, Chicago Tribune writer Ed Sherman and I were back at the hotel having a beer. We spied Cowley at the other side of the bar, drinking alone. We sent him a beer.

That, believe it or not, was the last of Cowley's 33 major league victories. He was picked up by the Phillies, but he contracted Blass Disease (the inability to throw strikes) the following spring and was let go after an 0-4 start that featured 17 walks and 2 Ks. I'm tellin' ya', no other sport can match baseball for weird stuff like this.

So I still need a No-No

Nope, sorry, I didn't see Hideo Nomo's, Derek Lowe's, Clay Buchholz' or Jon Lester's. I didn't see Dave Morehead's, either (although I remember reading about it in the early edition of the old Record-American I purchased at Cleveland Circle), and I had yet to set foot in Boston when Jim Bunning threw the last visiting pitcher No-No in Fenway back in 1958.

I was out of town for both Lowe and Buchholz. I don't know what the hell I was doing the night Nomo went No-No (so I cannot join in the chorus hooting down poor Don Orsillo for not being sufficiently giddy) and I was home in an on-and-off mode the night Lester threw his. That is to say, I watched the early portion of the game (including Ellsbury's great catch), but then switched to something else (playoff basketball, I'm guessing). Anyway, TV doesn't count.

Is one No-No too much to ask for a good baseball fan who has 32 years worth of no No-No scorebooks in his possession? As a writer, the closest I came was a one-hitter the irascible Doyle Alexander threw against the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium. Rick Burleson broke it up with a leadoff single in the ninth, as I recall. I got into the eighth inning one day with Roger Clemens in Cleveland, but Dave Clark ended that one.

As a spectator, count me among the assembled on Labor Day in 2001 when Mike Mussina came within an out of a perfect game in that enthralling duel with David Cone. You know I was rooting for Mussina, especially when that psychopath came up to bat with two away in the ninth. I can't even mention his name.

(Editor's note: We'll say it for Bob, it was Carl Everett.)

Other than these few major league flirtations, the closest I came to seeing a No-No was in 1972. I was working on a book about minor league baseball, and I arrived in Appleton, Wisc. just in time to catch the second game of a twi-nighter. As I walked through the turnstiles, the guy said, "Too bad, son, you just missed a no-hitter." Turns out a kid named Wayne McCauley had indeed thrown a seven-inning No-No. But I think I'd still need the itch scratched by a true nine-inning No-No.

I will say this. I saw a few lunkheads leave in the sixth or so, but very, very few people left Fenway after that. I guess the difference between me and most of them was that they were rooting for someone to break it up. I knew the game was a hopeless case; I wanted the No-No.

I ain't apologizing.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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