Cubs pitcher Ken Holtzman’s no-hitter 46 years ago today was bizarre for two reasons.
One: It is only the second—and last—of 291 MLB no-hitters to be pitched with no strikeouts. Think about that? Twenty-seven batted balls and as many putouts. “Sad” Sam Jones also pitched a no-strikeout no-no for the Yankees in 1923.
Two: Hank Aaron “ruined” the no-hitter with a home run in the seventh inning that left Wrigley Field but miraculously blew back in the park and into the awaiting glove of left fielder Billy Williams. Aaron called it the “hardest ball I’ve ever hit in my life,” during a 2014 interview with WGN-TV director Bob Vorwald about Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary.
The thing I remember the most about playing at Wrigley Field is hitting probably the hardest ball I’ve ever hit in my life off Kenny Holtzman when he pitched a no-hitter, Aaron told Vorwald. I thought for sure I hit a home run. Sure enough, the wind blew it back to Billy Williams.
[The Aaron-Holtzman showdown begins at about the 49:00 mark on clock to right]
Holtzman went on to pitch one more no-hitter in his career, shutting down Cincinnati and “The Big Red Machine” 1-0 in 1971. He struck out six that day.