Reds History

Jim Maloney’s Toughest No-Hitter

(This is the second in a series of articles about Cincinnati Reds pitchers to throw no-hitters. Twelve Red hurlers have thrown no-hitters, including Homer Bailey’s gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Bailey’s no-hitter was the first thrown since Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning, beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 in 1989, retiring all 27 hitters he faced.)

On June 14, 1965, Reds ace hurler Jim Maloney lost a no-hitter, his shutout and the game when New York Mets outfielder Johnny Lewis hit an 11th inning home run to defeat the Reds 1-0.

Just over four weeks later, Maloney had another no-hitter going against the Chicago Cubs. And once again, the Reds offense couldn’t score a run. Locked in a 0-0 game against the Cubs and pitcher Larry Jackson at Wrigley Field, Maloney took the mound in the bottom of the 9th. He hit Ron Santo with a pitch. He then walked Ernie Banks. After getting two outs, Maloney walked Jackson to load the bases. But he escaped this jam by getting Don Landrum to pop up to shortstop Leo Cardenas and the game went to extra innings, just like the one against the Mets.

The Reds had chipped away at Jackson for 8 hits, including a one-out triple by Frank Robinson in the sixth inning. But Jackson got Gordy Coleman to ground out to Banks unassisted and Deron Johnson lined out to shortstop Don Kessinger to strand Robby. Robinson and Vada Pinson each had a pair of hits; Maloney added two hits. But the Reds couldn’t score and the game went into extra innings.

With one out in the 10th inning, the Reds broke through. Cardenas lined his 9th home run of the year into the Wrigley Field bleachers. And Maloney, with a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the 10 th, got Banks to ground into a game ending double play. For the day, Jim Maloney threw a staggering amount of pitches; he struck out 12 batters and walked 10 others. He improved his record to 12-6, enroute to a 20-9 season that included 244 strikeouts.

Maloney struck out every Cub hitter he faced except Billy Williams and pinch-hitter Jimmy Stewart. He struck out the side once but walked the opposing pitcher, Jackson, two times. Jackson pitched a complete game as well, allowing 9 hits but walking no one and his record fell to 11-15. The Cubs stranded 10 runners on base in the no-hitter.

Despite a spectacular 1-2 punch of Maloney and Sammy Ellis (22-10) on the mound, the 1965 Reds, managed by Dick Sisler, finished in 4th place with an 89-73 record, 8 games behind the Dodgers. Aside from Joe Nuxhall (11-4) the rest of the starting pitching faltered. ’61 Ragamuffin stars Joey Jay (9-8) and Jim O’Toole (3-10) struggled most of the season. Coming off the heels of a 1964 season in which the Reds lost the pennant on the last day of the season and Manager Fred Hutchinson to cancer, changes were going to be made.

This all led to the disastrous trade of Robinson after the season to the Baltimore Orioles for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson. And the rest, as they say, is history. It’s been correctly judged as one of the worst trades in the history of the Reds.

It also led to the firing of Sisler and the hiring of Don Heffner, who didn’t even survive the 1966 season. He was fired with the Reds mired in 8th place in July 1966 and replaced by Dave Bristol.

9 thoughts on “Jim Maloney’s Toughest No-Hitter

  1. I heard the 11 inning loss to the Mets on the radio, heartbreaking.

    The ’65 Reds had the most potent offense in the major leagues, scoring 825 runs. A great lineup that could also play defense. An OF of Tommy Harper, Vada Pinson, Frank Robinson. Big seasons from Deron Johnson, Pete Rose, Leo Cardenas. Productive platoons at catcher and first base, including Tony Perez’ rookie season.

    The pitching was putrid.

    Easy to look this stuff up, but fun to reminisce. In 1976 or so I met Tommy Harper at a hotel in New Haven, Connecticut – at that point he was a roving base running instructor for the Red Sox – and we talked about the 1965 lineup.

  2. Can’t say I remember that game, I was pretty young then, but didn’t the Reds’ high hopes for Deron Johnson make them think they could withstand the loss of Frank Robinson? Has to be one of the worst trades in baseball history, let alone Reds’ history.

    Always fun to read those names, though. Wow, Perez’s rookie season? Rose would have been in his quite early years too.

    • @Brian Van Hook: 1965 was Pete Rose’s breakout season, his 3rd season. In 1963 and 1964 he was a good but typical 2nd baseman of the time, batting .270 without power. No one could have foreseen him as the all time hit king. In 1965 he led the NL in hits with 209 and had 57 extra base hits, almost as many as in his first two seasons combined. He just kept going and going from there.

      Bill DeWitt said Robinson was “an old 30″. Dumbass. There has thru the years been speculation that the Reds management did not like Robinson, because of things like his going around town with white women and the gun incident.

      I won’t comment on the “white women” thing and couldn’t anyway, I didn’t live in Cincy. But I don’t believe the gun incident was a factor in the trade. In between the 1960 and 1961 seasons, a restaurant in Cincy refused to serve Frank for lunch.
      He was so angry he pulled out a gun and started waving it around. He was arrested, I forget what came of that. The incident led to his maturing. In 1961 he was a model citizen, the leader in the clubhouse, and led the Reds to the 1961 NL pennant with an MVP season. He remained a great player and leader thru the 1965 season, and the gun incident had been forgiven long before the trade.

      Robby’s maturing in the early 60’s and developing leadership qualities led to his becoming the first black manager in major league history, for Cleveland in 1975.

      • @pinson343: wow, really? I knew about the racial stuff, or heard about it, but never had heard of the gun incident. Wouldn’t surprise me if that played a role in his departure … I read a long time ago that Rose tended to be in the same clique, if that’s the right word, as Robinson in his early years, which might not have set well in Cincinnati. Unsure if that played any role in moving Robinson, but geez, my older brothers railed at how bad that trade was.

        • @Brian Van Hook: Whatever Pete’s faults, I think on the positive side he will be remembered as being “color blind” in an era when that wasn’t always popular.

          I seem to remember that along with the “old 30″ line that DeWitt also made some veiled reference which was interpreted as meaning the team saw Robinson as a “bad influence” on Vada Pinson. Ans year I remember the “gun incident” happening and alluded to as part of the bad reference talk.

  3. Don’t know where else to put this: congratulations to Shane Larkin. I’m sure his Dad is very proud. Wish he played for the Bearcats.

  4. I remember the call of the Cardenas HR versus the Cubbies on the Reds broadcast and bottom of the inning to end the game. I suppose I must have been listening all along but that’s all I recall.

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