The first White Sox game for this feature is one that I remember very well from childhood. I remember watching this game on TV as I did many games back then. 1990 was a great year for the no-hitter. In June Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, and Fernando Valenzuela all threw no-hitters. Now it makes sense why everyone started hitting the juice in the early 90’s.
Andy Hawkins and Greg Hibbard pitched a great game that day in July. Hibbard pitched seven innings giving up only four hits and no runs. White Sox reliever Barry Jones came in to pitch a hitless 8th leading up to the bottom of the 8th inning.
Going into the bottom of the 8th Hawkins had only allowed three base runners all day. Ron Karkovice, Scott Fletcher, and Ivan Calderon all reached base courtesy of Hawkins walks. To start the 8th both Karkovice and Fletcher popped up to the second baseman to start the inning. With two outs Sammy Sosa (the skinny version) hit a ball to third that Mike Blowers could not handle. Inside the stadium the play was shown on the scoreboard as a hit. The official scorer though called it an error. Sammy took advantage of the situation and stole second base. Maybe he was still trying to get back into his game after giving up what he thought was a hit or maybe he just lost his concentration, but Andy Hawkins then walked both Ozzie Guillen and Lance Johnson. That brought up Robin Ventura with the bases loaded and two outs. Robin hit a ball to left field that Jim Leyritz should have caught. Jim had some trouble with the wind, and the ball bounced off of his mitt to the turf. With two outs the runners were on the move, and all three that were on base scored easily. Jim was not the normal Yankee left fielder. He was put out there for the third time that season so that Blowers could play at third. How ironic is it that both of them made key errors that inning?
As weird as it sounds the next ball was hit to right field, and Jesse Barfield missed that ball allowing Ventura to score from second. Dan Pasqua ended the inning with a pop up that was caught by the shortstop. The inning was finally over, but the White Sox scored four runs without a hit to take a 4-0 led into the top of the ninth inning.
A favorite of mine Scott Radinsky came in to retire the side in the ninth to preserve the win for the White Sox. Steve Balboni did reach base on an error by Robin Ventura, but that was erased when Barfield grounded into a double play to end the game.
After the game Andy Hawkins had this to say about his game. “I got beat, and that stinks, but I still threw a no-hitter and that will never be taken away from me.” Little did he know what baseball had in store for him.
In September of 1991 Major League Baseball felt the need to re-define what constituted a no-hitter. They said that a no-hitter was “one in which a pitcher or pitchers complete a game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit.” Since the White Sox did not bat in the ninth it is no longer considered a no-hitter. So after losing a game in which he no-hit the other team, Andy then lost the no-hitter.
The “Committee for Statistical Accuracy” established in 1991 took away over 50 no-hitters in 1991. I understand games that were shortened because of rain being taken away. It is still a no-hitter though, and should be in a separate category. The Hawkins game makes no sense to me why it was taken away. Andy received credit for a complete game because he was part of the away team. If you take away the no-hitter, then you should take away complete games for all pitchers who lost on the road. I guess in the long run I see the game as a no-hitter no matter who says it isn’t.
Here are the scorecards for this historic game:
Next week I plan to take a look at Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. After reading Jane Leavy’s book on Sandy Koufax I really appreciate the effort by Koufax that much more.