By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
It was 30 years ago today that Toronto Blue Jays ace and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dave Stieb finally got his no-hitter.
The legendary right-hander at long last completed the feat against the Cleveland Indians in a 3-0 Blue Jays’ win at Cleveland Stadium. This came after he had tossed five one-hitters and had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the ninth inning in three previous starts (September 24, 1988, September 30, 1988 and August 4, 1989).
But Stieb wouldn’t be denied on this day. He walked four and struck out nine and with his 123rd pitch of the day, Indians second baseman Jerry Browne lined out to right fielder Junior Felix for the game’s final out (Watch it by clicking on this video link).
Following the game, Stieb told reporters that he wasn’t that anxious in the ninth inning.
“I wasn’t real nervous. I’ve been there quite a few times,” Stieb told reporters. “I was struggling with my control a little bit the whole game. They helped me by swinging at some balls in the dirt. I could have been in some more jams. I had much better stuff the other times, much better control. I always knew it took a lot of luck to get a no-hitter.”
Fred McGriff belted two solo home runs for the Blue Jays in the contest.
Stieb’s no-hitter remains the only one in Blue Jays’ history.
On September 27, 1998, Hall of Famer Roy Halladay had held the Detroit Tigers hitless with two outs in the ninth inning in his second big league start when Tigers’ pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson belted a home run and Halladay had to settle for a one-hitter.
Similarly, right-hander Brandon Morrow hadn’t allowed a hit with two outs in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on August 8, 2010 when slugger Evan Longoria hit a slow ground ball that just eluded Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill. Morrow settled for a 17-strikeout, one-hitter.