This Day in Baseball History: June 15th, 1938

The lefty power pitcher is one of those rare guys with four names but no hyphens. I want one of those.

On June 15, 1938:

Johnny Van Der Meer throws a no-hitter.

This wasn’t just your ordinary no-hitter (as if no-hitters are ordinary). This was Johnny Van Der Meer‘s second consecutive no-hitter. No-hitters are hard enough, but to do them in consecutive starts is really hard. So hard, in fact, that he is the only one in baseball history to accomplish the feat.

On June 11th, he threw his first no-hitter. Pitching against the Boston Braves, Van Der Meer went all 9, striking out 4 and walking 3. Not a perfect game (there was also an error), it was plenty good enough to beat Danny MacFayden, who went 8, giving up 3 runs and six hits. Four days later, Van Der Meer took on Max Butcher, who butchered his start. Butcher couldn’t make it through 3 innings before giving 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. Van Der Meer, however, didn’t exactly have a great game. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “effectively wild”. Well, Van Der Meer didn’t give up a hit or a run in 9 innings, and he struck out 7. But he walked a Dontrelle Willis-esque 8 hitters in those 9 innings (though he was quite a bit more effective than Dontrelle Willis). A few days later, Cincinnati ownership asked him to change his number to “00”, but Van Der Meer politely declined.

1938 was Van Der Meer’s first full season in the majors, and it was one of his best. He went 15-10 with a 3.10 ERA (117 ERA+), but showing his wild side, he walked 103 while striking out 125. After a couple middling years, he hit his stride from 1941-1943. He led the league in strikeouts in each of those seasons (and walks in 1943), and he managed to keep his ERA in between 2.43 and 2.87. He would win 49 games in that stretch. I presume, though I cannot state definitively (I’m sure one of you might know), he ended up in World War II. He missed out on the next two seasons, and when he came back, he was pretty good, though not as good as when he left.

Trivia Time
His career record was over/under .500?

Yesterday’s Answer –> Terry Mulholland with 12.

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3 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: June 15th, 1938”

  1. Ron Rollins Says:

    Under. 119-121, I believe. Or 119-123.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Geez specific. It's the first one.

  3. Ron Rollins Says:

    I read about this a couple of days ago. The numbers stuck in my head for some reason.

    But I didn't look it up.

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