There are some records that are meant to be broken. Babe Ruth’s single season home run title was taken over by Roger Maris, then Mark McGwire, and most recently Barry Bonds. Even those that were supposed to last forever like Ty Cobb’s career hits records and Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak each falling to Pete Rose and Cal Ripken, Jr respectively, but this is one record that will never be broken: In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds pitched two consecutive no-hitters. In order to break this record, a pitcher would have to pitch three consecutive no-hitters — simply impossible!
1938 was Vander Meer’s first full season; however, the often wild throwing lefty did not let that get to him. On June 11th at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Vander Meer walked three while striking out four and allowing no hits against the Boston Braves. No Boston player even made it past first base. Four days later in Brooklyn, he was a little less steady. He walked eight and struck out seven in the very first night game at Ebbets Field. He needed a little help from some spectacular plays by his teammates and almost ended the streak himself when he walked the bases full in the ninth, but a well placed pop up by Leo Durocher ended the threat.
“All the publicity, the attention, the interviews, the photographs, were too much for me (after throwing his second no-hitter in 1938).” – Johnny Vander Meer (AP Wire, 1939)
In his thirteen year career, he never again recreated the magic of this, his rookie season. The four-time All-Star will never be remembered for his so-so career split of 119-121, but will instead forever be ingrained in the minds of all baseball historians and fans as the man who created the most unbeatable, unbelievable, fabulous pitching feat in the history of the game.
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