Tigers Erupt Against John's No-Hit Bid

Filed under Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers
June 30, 1968

On a Sunday afternoon at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, White Sox All Star pitcher Tommy John carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. It appeared the Chicago White Sox would avert a disastrous weekend sweep at Tiger Stadium. On Friday, Detroit scored a pair of touchdowns to rout Chicago, 14-0. On Saturday, Denny McLain won his 15th game in a 6-2 Tiger win. Now the Chisox had all of that behind them as their All Star hurler had the champions on the ropes with a no-hit bid. This was their kind of game. The only run scored on a walk, stolen base, advancement on a ground out, and a timely two out single by Sandy Alomar. This was White Sox baseball, small ball and pitching. Suddenly, the unthinkable happened to Manager Eddie Stanky and his troops.

Mickey Stanley hit John’s first pitch of the seventh inning into the second deck in left field to break the no-hit bid, erase the shutout, and tie the game. Four pitches later, Bill Freehan and Willie Horton were on second and first after a pair of soft singles. Jim Price ran the count full, and drew a free pass to load the bases. Jim Northrup singled in front of right fielder Bill Voss, Freehan scored to give the Tigers the lead, and the bases remained full. Uncharacteristically, John became flustered. Home plate umpire Al Salerno called a balk on the southpaw, and Horton crossed the plate with the Tigers third run. The specter of the previous games crept back into the minds of the White Sox players. In baseball, the most negative of thoughts can appear after a few bloop hits. Light hitting Ray Oyler singled up the middle to score Price, and Northrup came around the third base. Wayne Comer was announced as a pinch-hitter, and Stanky rescued John by summoning the veteran Don McMahon from the bull pen. Tiger manager Mayo Smith countered with Tom Matchick to bat for Comer. McMahon got Matchick to beat a slow roller in front of the plate for an easy first out of the inning. Oyler advanced to second. Dick McAuliffe was intentionally walked to load the bases again, and set up a potential inning ending double play. The strategy backfired on Stanky as Dick Tracewski doubled over the head of center fielder Ken Berry to score two more Tigers for a 6-1 lead.

McMahon struck Stanley out, but the ball eluded Duane Josephson, McAuliffe raced home, Tracewski to third, and Stanley safely at first. Stanky called upon his third pitcher of the inning, Bob Locker, whose first pitch struck Bill Freehan in the ribs to load the bases again. Willie Horton responded with a double into the right center gap, scoring the eighth and ninth runs of the stanza. Stanky motioned for Locker to load the bases a third time with an intentional pass to pinch-hitter Norm Cash. Locker struck Northrup out for the second out, and a faint light of hope flickered in the swirl of dread on the White Sox bench. Ray Oyler stepped up to bat, and an end to the inning appeared certain. But, Oyler singled for the second time in the inning, a flair to left beyond the outstretched reach of Luis Aparicio. Freehan scored the tenth run for Detroit. Buddy Bradford recovered the ball, and cut pinch-runner Lenny Green down at the plate for the third and final out of the inning. Ten runs on eight hits for Detroit.

Jim Rooker made his major league debut with a scoreless eighth, and Daryl Patterson closed the White Sox out in the ninth. Six innings of no-hit ball from Tommy John quickly erased. The mark of the weekend series sweep was 30 runs scored by Detroit against 3 for the White Sox. It was the fifth straight defeat, ninth in the last ten games, for the Pale Hose who are now firmly entrenched in ninth place. The Sox continue east with a set in Baltimore as the Tigers host the last place Angels. The Tigers have been an absolute steamroller in the American League since their hottest hitter, Al Kaline, went down with a broken arm on May 25. Kaline is expected to return this week, but since Kaline’s injury, the Tigers are 24-13, outscoring their opponents by 86 runs. Of the course of the season’s first three months, Detroit has outscored their opponents by a total of 139 runs en route to a 48-27 record. The St. Louis Cardinals are a distant second in this margin of runs statistic (59), but the Redbirds have the best record in baseball at 50-26. The Tigers’ McLain (15-4) and the Cardinals’ Gibson (14-2) may be heading toward 30-win season as their clubs march toward a Series re-match.

6/30/1968, CHW68-DET68, Tiger Stadium

                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
1968 Chicago           0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0     1  8  0     9  1
1968 Detroit           0  0  0  0  0  0 10  0  x    10  8  0     4  1

Chicago              AB  R  H BI  D  T HR BB  K SB CS IW HP SH SF   AVG   PO  A  E PB
Alomar            2b  4  0  1  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  .299    1  3  0  0
Aparicio          ss  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .263    0  4  0  0
Ward              3b  4  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .181    0  1  0  0
Wagner            rf  2  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .200    0  0  0  0
 Bradford         pr  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .232    1  1  0  0
McCraw            1b  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  .194   10  1  0  0
Josephson         c   4  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .238    7  2  0  1
Voss              lf  3  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  .152    3  0  0  0
Berry             cf  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .241    0  0  0  0
John              p   3  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .226    2  0  0  0
 McMahon          p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    0  0  0  0
 Locker           p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    0  0  0  0
 Hopkins          ph  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    0  0  0  0
                     32  1  8  1  0  0  0  3  5  1  0  0  0  2  0         24 12  0  1

Detroit              AB  R  H BI  D  T HR BB  K SB CS IW HP SH SF   AVG   PO  A  E PB
McAuliffe         2b  3  1  0  0  0  0  0  2  2  0  0  1  0  0  0  .224    2  7  0  0
Tracewski         3b  4  1  1  2  1  0  0  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .153    0  3  0  0
Stanley           cf  4  2  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .226    3  0  0  0
Freehan           1b  3  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  .278   11  0  0  0
Horton            lf  4  1  2  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .290    1  0  0  0
 Green            pr  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    0  0  0  0
Price             c   2  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .183    3  0  0  0
 Cash             ph  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  .304    3  0  0  0
Northrup          rf  4  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .284    2  0  0  0
Oyler             ss  3  1  2  2  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .193    2  1  0  0
Sparma            p   1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .175    0  1  0  0
 Wilson           ph  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .292    0  0  0  0
 Ribant           p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .500    0  0  0  0
 Comer            ph  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .263    0  0  0  0
 Matchick         ph  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .237    0  0  0  0
 Rooker           p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    0  0  0  0
 Brown            ph  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .324    0  0  0  0
 Patterson        p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    0  0  0  0
                     31 10  8  8  2  0  1  6  7  0  0  2  1  0  0         27 12  0  0

Chicago                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   BF HR IW HP WP DP   ERA
John             L 7-3           6.0  5  6  6  4  5 101  60   26  1  0  0  0  1  2.09
McMahon                          0.1  1  3  2  1  1  18   9    4  0  1  0  0  0  4.45
Locker                           1.2  2  1  1  1  1  23  14    8  0  1  1  0  0  1.64
                                 8.0  8 10  9  6  7 142  83   38  1  2  1  0  1

Detroit                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   BF HR IW HP WP DP   ERA
Sparma                           6.0  5  1  1  3  3  68  43   25  0  0  0  1  1  3.34
Ribant           W 1-0           1.0  0  0  0  0  0   7   6    3  0  0  0  0  0  1.38
Rooker                           1.0  3  0  0  0  1  21  13    6  0  0  0  0  0  0.00
Patterson                        1.0  0  0  0  0  1  15   9    3  0  0  0  0  0  2.14
                                 9.0  8  1  1  3  5 111  71   37  0  0  0  1  1

CHW: Bradford ran for Wagner in the 6th
     Bradford moved to lf in the 6th
     Voss moved to rf in the 6th
     Hopkins batted for Locker in the 9th
DET: Wilson batted for Sparma in the 6th
     Comer batted for Ribant in the 7th
     Matchick batted for Comer in the 7th
     Green ran for Horton in the 7th
     Cash batted for Price in the 7th
     Freehan moved to c in the 8th
     Green moved to lf in the 8th
     Cash moved to 1b in the 8th
     Brown batted for Rooker in the 8th

GWRBI: Northrup
Temperature: 89, Sky: clear, Wind: out to left at 15 MPH. 

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