A no-no-no

The Cubs managed just one hit tonight against A.J. Burnett of the Pirates. Burnett had a no-hitter into the 8th inning of tonight’s game, and only a single by rookie Adrian Cardenas stood between Burnett and an historic feat. As the saying goes, close but no cigar.

Most people are aware that the last time the Cubs suffered the indignity of being no-hit was in September of 1965, when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against them in Dodger Stadium. The fact that it hasn’t been done against the Cubs since, a span of nearly 47 years, is fairly impressive. Many of baseball’s franchises today haven’t even been around that long to begin with. But there’s more to the story than just that.

The Cubs have been on the receiving end of no-hitters just twice in their current ballpark. In 1917, they lost the famous double-no hitter game, which was played in what was then called Weeghman Park. I’m sure we’ll never see another game like that one. Decades then went by before the Cubs were no-hit in their own ballpark, as they nearly were by A.J. Burnett this evening. In fact, the only other time that the Cubs were held hitless in front of their home fans happened in August of 1965.

Yes, 1965. The year that the Rolling Stones recorded “Satisfaction” and changed rock and roll forever. There was indeed something that the 1965 Cubs weren’t able to get, and that was hits against the other team’s starting pitcher. On August 19 of that year, they were no-hit at home by Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds, losing that game 1-0 in 10 innings. Yes, the Cubs endured a ten-inning no-hitter that afternoon. Then, after playing 19 games in which they weren’t no-hit, they ran into an unhittable Koufax on September 9 in Los Angeles. Koufax’ perfect game was the second time in three weeks that the Cubs had made 27 outs without registering a single base hit.

I’m wondering if any other team in baseball history has suffered two no-hitters in the same season. It may have happened, but I would be stunned if it had ever happened to the same team twice within a single month. That brand of futility seems to be something that only the Cubs could accomplish.

I’m glad the Cubs managed at least one hit tonight, to keep their no no-hitters streak going. But I’m also glad to discover and present a story with the world about the 1965 Cubs, who were possibly the most unsatisfied team in big-league history.

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