(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.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.