Today marks the 75th Anniversary of Bob Feller’s Opening Day no-hitter!
“Tomorrow’s another day, and I’ll be out there every time I pitch—just trying to win for the Indians.”
-Bob Feller, April 16, 1940
Seventy five years ago, Bob Feller took the mound at Chicago’s Comiskey Park to usher in the start of the 1940 baseball season. Feller, already the ace of the Cleveland pitching staff at only 21 years old, struck out five of the first six recorded outs in the game.
Several innings passed with neither team scoring. The Indians punched in a run when Jeff Heath singled to left field and Rollie Hemsley delivered a two out, triple to right field. That was all the support Feller needed to win.
Ken Keltner, Lou Boudreau, Ray Mack, and Hal Trosky protected Feller’s no-hitter with superb fielding. It was Mack’s play at the end that wrapped up the game and the Indians won, 1-0. Feller told reporters, “I wasn’t sure I had it until Ray Mack threw out that last man. That was the hardest ball hit at me all day. It really was hit.”
If pitching the only Opening Day no-hitter in baseball history wasn’t enough of a thrill for Bob Feller, the fact that both of his parents and sister were in the crowd made the moment extra special. Commenting on the excitement of the game, Bill Feller said, “Well, I didn’t have any trouble keepin’ awake.”
Feller’s feat remains the lone Opening Day no-no in baseball history. The glove he wore during the fateful game is now in possession of the Cleveland Indians and will be on display in the near future.
(source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 17, 1940)
– Photo by Sarah Sachs