I’ve lived for a long time. I don’t think I’m old, necessarily, but life has changed a whole lot since I’ve been walking the earth. And never in my lifetime, until Saturday afternoon, had the Cubs suffered the indignity of a goose egg in the hits column for an entire game. They’ve suffered every other type of indignity, sure, but never had I seen them get no-hit before. I’m going out on a limb to suggest that you’ve probably never seen it either, since it was last accomplished by Sandy Koufax late in the 1965 season. That’s almost a half-century ago.
I have followed the Cubs for a very long time, too. My first Cubs game on WGN out of Chicago was in September of 1975, when I turned on a game as Rennie Stennett was legging out a triple in the Pirates’ 22-0 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Just a little bit shy of 40 years ago, I started down a path of one disappointment after another. And in all that time, the hallowed ballpark on the North Side of Chicago (since baseball has replaced the religion that my parents raised me with) had not seen a no-hitter. The last time any pitcher threw a no-no in Wrigley was Milt Pappas in late 1972. Carlos Zambrano threw one against the Houston Astros back in 2008, but it was a home game played in Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike. Wrigley is as historic as they come, but it hadn’t seen a no-hitter in over 40 years.
The Philadelphia Phillies first played the Cubs in Wrigley Field — or Weeghman Park, as it was known back then — on May 21, 1916. Chief Bender (who died in 1954) got the decision that day over Jimmy Lavender (who lived until 1960). In just under 100 years, no Phillies team had come into Wrigley Field and no-hit the Cubs. The only team that had ever done it before, and on two separate occasions, was the Cincinnati Reds. But all that changed on Saturday, as Cole Hamels struck out 13 and completed the no-hitter. It was a historic day, the likes of which few of us had ever seen before. And I doubt I’ll see it again, either. But with baseball, you can never know for certain. That’s what makes it such a great sport to follow.