ON THIS DATE (June
26, 1962) ...
Earl Wilson, the question mark pitcher of the Boston Red Sox, pitched
a no-hitter before a stunned crowd of 14,002 at Fenway Park tonight.
The 26-year-old right-hander, who had only won nine games in his big
league career, held the Los Angeles Angels hitless and triumphed, 2
Only four Angels batters reached base, all on base on balls. Wilson became the
first black player to pitch a no-hit game in the American League. By
coincidence, Wilson was pitching against Bo Belinsky, who until tonight, was
the only man to pitch a no-hitter in the American League for the last four
years. Belinsky pitched a great game himself, yielding only one and that was a
home run that decided the game, by Wilson himself.
Wilson came up to the Red Sox in October 1959 and has pitched only two complete
games. Until tonight he had failed to go to distance a single time this year. He
has more speed and stuff than any Red Sox pitcher, but was wild and usually
faded two thirds of the way through the games he’s pitched. Tonight he didn't
fade at all, but simply got better.
He walked four men, one in the second, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth
and he had enough control and exceptional speed. He also showed that he could
mix his pitches. The no-hitter was aided by great fielding plays by third
baseman Frank Malzone and shortstop Eddie Bressoud. Malzone fell into the
Angels dugout catching a foul pop fly from Joe Koppe in the third inning.
Wilson was equal to the occasion and firing bullets. He had two strikes on Billy
Moran, the ninth-inning lead off man, who entered the game as attempt leading
hitter in the American League. Moran then hit a ball that looked as if would
drop in for a Texas leaguer in short left, but Bressoud raced out a bit toward
the foul line and caught it for out number one. Next up came Leon Wagner, a
left-handed hitter and leading the league in home runs. On a 1-0 pitch, Wagner
blew out to Gary Geiger in medium center for out number two. There was one man
left in cleanup hitter Lee Thomas. Two strikes from a no-hit game and Wilson
threw a high fastball for ball one. The next pitch was a bullet on the inside
corner of the strike zone and umpire Harry Schwartz singled strike two.
Thomas tipped off the next pitch as it sailed over the shoulder catcher Bob
Tillman to the screen. Then on what proved to be the final pitch of the game,
Thomas hit a fly ball to center. Gary Geiger, who always plays deep, moved to
the edge of the grass just inside the warning path, and caught it for the final
Wilson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Mel Parnell
did it in 1956.