July 19, 1974 – Dick Bosman’s No Hitter – Only Pitcher to Miss a Perfect Game Due to His Own Error
The Oakland As were two-time World Series champions coming into the 1974 season. The largest Municipal Stadium crowd of the season so far–over 48,000 filed in to watch the opening matchup of the series–a pitching duel between perennial Cy Young candidates Catfish Hunter and Gaylord Perry. The Tribe dropped that game 3-2.
On the next evening, Dick Bosman started for the Indians against Oakland’s Dave Hamilton. These two carried over the pitching duel from the previous evening. Hamilton retired the first six batters he faced, while Bosman was perfect through three innings.
In the bottom of the third, Indians first baseman Tommy McCraw led things off with a single to right field. Joe Lis homered to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Bosman struck out Bill North and Bert Campenaris grounded out to third. As third baseman Sal Bando hit a slow roller between the mound and third base on a checked swing. Bosman hustled over to field the ball, turned and threw quickly to first. The ball skipped off the end of McCraw’s glove and Bando ended up at second. Bosman was charged with an error. He later said, “I had enough time, but because I had to go a long way to get the ball, I thought I had to hurry. My throw just sailed away from McGraw.” Reggie Jackson struck out to end the inning.
Buddy Bell drove in John Ellis on a double to left which chased Hamilton from the game in the bottom of the fourth. McCraw then grounded to short off Blue Moon Odom, allowing Bell to score from third. After four innings, the Tribe was up 4-0.
Shortstop Frank Duffy kept the no hitter alive in the top of the fifth with an incredible throw from deep in the hole to put the speedy Joe Rudi out at first. Bosman continued to mow through the Athletics order, and the Indians could barely touch Odom as well.
Bosman had pitched four one-hitters in his career, including a no-hit bid against the Yankees that lasted into the eighth inning. “After the fifth, after the sixth, my feeling was that I wasn’t going to screw this one up,” Bosman said. “I was confident in myself that day that I wasn’t going to make a physical mistake.”
In the ninth, Dick Green grounded out to third. Jesus Alou (uncle to Moises) grounded out to second. Bosman stuck Bill North out swinging for the 27th out. He used only 72 pitches.
There have been 301 recognized No-Hitters in MLB history. Bosman’s remains the only one that would have been a Perfect Game, if not for his own error. The A’s went on to win their third consecutive World Series that fall, making Bosman’s no-no an interesting blip in the history of one of baseball’s great dynasties.
Honorable Mention: July 19, 1964 – Luis Tiant Shuts Out Yankees in First MLB Start
In his first Major League start, Tiant faced 13-year veteran, and Cy Young winner Whitey Ford. Tiant struck out 11, and gave up only four hits.