While in the Cubs’ bullpen, Dick Selma was a cheerleader. He led the cheers of the Bleacher Bums during the summer of ’69, Perhaps he was motivated by guilt. On June 26, the Pirates took over first place in the NL East with an 11-3 thrashing of the Cubs at Wrigley. Dick Selma had been the starter. So on August 17th at Candlestick Park, there was a glimpse of redemption for Selma.
In the nightcap of a Sunday double header, the Cubs took a 4-0 lead to the bottom of the ninth. On the verge of a sweep, Selma had no allowed San Francisco a hit during the first eight innings. Ken Henderson ended the no-hit bid with a leadoff single. Pinch hitter John Stephenson, a catcher, beat out an infield single as he outraced Selma to first base. Hal Lanier beat a worm killer up the middle to score Henderson, and an obviously gassed Selma looked into the Cubs’ dugout. As pinch hitter Dave Marshall was announced, Leo Durocher walked slowly to the mound to retrieve Selma. Southpaw Rich Nye was summoned, but the Giants’ hit parade continued. Jim Ray Hart was called for Marshall, and he also singled slowly up the middle to load the bases. Durocher quickly called for his ace fireman Phil Regan to put out the flames. Unbeknownst to Durocher, Regan brought a canister of napalm to the mound. He walked Bobby Bonds on five pitches to plate the 2nd run and to cut the Cubs’ lead in half. Regan induced a grounder to second from Ron Hunt, but Hunt beat out the relay throw from Kessinger. One out finally recorded, but there were runners on the corners and the Chicago lead is down to one.
After two pitches out of the zone, Bob Burda followed the suit of his teammates and grounded the ball past Regan up the middle. The ball eluded Beckert, then Kessinger. Hunt running toward second inexplicably hesitated as he watched the ball skid past the diving middle infielders. Center fielder Don Young charged the ball. Hart crossed the plate with the tying run as Hunt picked up his third base coach and rounded second base. The rookie Young had the favor of Durocher early in the season. In fact, his play had forced Aldolfo Phillips from Durocher’s dog house to Montreal. Since June, however, Young slowly found his way into that very same dog house. Young gathered the ball, and fired to third base. Hunt slid under Santo as the ball sailed high. As Santo jumped, Hunt recognized the situation and popped quickly to his feet. Suddenly, the no-hitter was a defeat. Hunt scored the fifth run of the inning, and the Cubs were dropped back into a second place tie with New York, five games behind the Pirates.
The team flew back to Chicago to host Atlanta on Tuesday. Selma would be back on the bullpen bench leading the cheers. Young would wonder if he would be on the field or on the bench. And across Wrigleyville, a hint of desperation would hang in the air as another month on the calendar would soon be turning.