Saturday, September 09, 2006

September 9th, 1995

Swallows at Giants

As one or two of you might know, that's the Yakult Swallows (now known as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows) and the Yomiuri Giants (more commonly known as the Tokyo Giants). The Giants are commonly, and accurately, known as the Yankees of Japan with more pennants and titles than any other franchise. I don't know an equally good comparison to the Swallows; they're in the same league as the Giants but have had some success of their own (including five titles) so perhaps they're the A's or Tigers of Japan.

Anyway, continuing our theme from the other day of notable no-hitters, we come to this game. On this day the Swallows--on their way to their third league title--got the best of the Giants, no-hitting them. Although I don't have the exact data I assume Japanese leagues have no-hitters at roughly the same rate as leagues based in the United States (or anywhere, for that matter) but today's was nonetheless significant for its pitcher. The pitcher was Terry Bross, he of twelve lifetime innings in the Major Leagues (0-0, 3.00) who was nonetheless lights out in Japan finishing 14-5 and leading the league with a 2.33 ERA.

Bross' no-hitter was notable for being just the second one ever pitched by a foreign born player--and even more so for (like Kevin Brown two years later) missing out on a perfect game only by hitting a batter. Despite a fair bit of effort, I've not been able to turn up who threw the first no-hitter in Japan by a foreign born player, so if anyone can send me that information, I'd be much obliged. For now though, we can marvel at Terry's feat.

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