Apr-17-1969: Expansion Team No Hitter in 9th Game
In 1969, Major League Baseball debuted four new franchises – the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (now Milwaukee Brewers in the National League) in the American League and the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos in the National League. A lot of attention was given to the Expos since it was baseball’s first Canadian team.
The Expos opened the season beating Tom Seaver and the New York Mets 11-10 in Shea Stadium. They would lose the next two games, with Expo starter Bill Stoneman getting knocked out of the game in the first inning in one of them as he gave up 4 runs in 1/3 of an inning.
Next stop on the road trip was Wrigley Field where they split the first two games against the Cubs and lost the last game as Stoneman gave up 7 runs – only one of which was earned. The Expos returned home for the debut of Canadian baseball and beat the defending Champion St. Louis Cardinals 8-7, but the Cardinals won the next game
The 3-5 Expos then traveled to Connie Mack Stadium to face the 2-6 Phillies, winning the series opener 7-0 behind Bill Stoneman’s no-hitter. It was only his fifth career start and first complete game.
The Expos’ reaction to the event seems almost quaint by today’s standards. Management ripped up Stoneman’s contract and gave him a new one with a $2,000 raise. Then, between games of an April 20 doubleheader against the Cubs, the public address announcer asked fans to stay in their seats and then called Stoneman out of the dugout. Team president John McHale pointed to a new Renault car in center field, a gift from the Renault Company. However, the big surprise came when one of the car’s doors opened and out stepped Stoneman’s mother and a brother just back from Vietnam.
Three years later, Stoneman threw a second no-hitter this time at home, making it the first Canadian no-hitter. It was also the last complete game of his career.
Stoneman would move on to the Expos front office. In 1999, he become General Manager of the Angels, where he brought on ManagerMike Scioscia and oversaw the Angels 2002 World Series team.
Of the 1969 expansion class
- the Kansas City Royals would get the next no-hitter in 1973
- and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1987.
- In the 46 years since then, the San Diego Padres have played over 7,000 games but remain the only MLB team not to have throw a no-hitter. (See The Curse of the San Diego Padres)
In 2005, the Expos move to Washington and became the Washington Nationals, although they remain in consideration for a future MLB relocation.