Wednesday, September 06, 2006

September 6th, 1905

Chicago at Detroit (Second Game)

In honor of Anibal Sanchez and his no-hitter tonight--ending the longest no-hit drought in history--we come to the second game of a double header between the White Sox and Tigers. Although a no-hitter usually reflects some measure of dominance, Sanchez needed to pitch well today as the Marlins could only manage two runs themselves, so the game was at least somewhat in doubt all the way into the ninth inning.

That wasn't the case for Frank Smith in his no-hitter on this date. Like many (most?) pitchers who threw a no-hitter, Smith was not really anything special as a pitcher. He did win as many as twenty-five and twenty-three games in a season, and while the twenty-five win season had a pretty decent ERA, in his twenty-three win season he actually had an ERA below league average. For his career, Smith finished with fewer than a hundred and fifty wins and an ERA just at league average.

On this day, of course, Smith allowed no runs, as one is wont to do when allowing no hits. As it turned out, he could've allowed almost any reasonable number of runs you can think of, as his White Sox scored fifteen runs to give them an easy victory. (For an idea of how many runs fifteen was in 1905, remember that it represented nearly two and a half percent of all the runs the White Sox scored that year.) To this day that remains the largest margin of victory ever in a no-hitter, so Smith was not exactly under a lot of pressure in the later innings.

Anibal Sanchez may have had to bear down and make sure he not only had his no-hitter but also won the game for his team, but for Frank Smith on that day in Detroit more than a hundred years ago it was all smooth sailing.

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