On this date in 1973, Nolan Ryan was as dominant as he’s ever been.
Pitching for the California Angels, The Ryan Express did not allow a single hit to the Tigers in Detroit. It was Ryan’s second no-hitter of his career. His first came two months to the day prior to this one, when he no-hit the Kansas City Royals.
Ryan fanned 17 Tigers and walked 4 as the Angels triumphed 6 – 0. The 17 strikeouts still stands to this date as the most ever in a no-hitter.
He was so dominant, in fact, that the last batter of the game — Norm Cash — walked to the plate with a table leg instead of a bat, hoping to help his chances. Home plate umpire Ron Luciano wasn’t having it. Cash had to bring a normal bat to the plate, and popped out to shortstop Rudy Meoli to seal the no-hitter.
For a classic experience, here’s a clip of the great Tigers’ announcer Eddie Harwell calling the final inning of the game.
Nolan Ryan went on to throw five more no-hitters, ending his career with seven. He is also baseball’s all-time strikeouts leader, and is without question one of the most dominant players to ever take the mound.
Ryan’s pitching gem was not the first no-hitter in history on July 15th.
On this same date in 1901, the legendary Christy Mathewson also threw a no-hitter for the Giants. Mathewson’s performance also has some historical significance, as he became the first rookie to ever throw a no-no. The Giants defeated the Cardinals that day, 5 – 0.