The 27 Strikeout, 9 Inning No-Hitter

No, it wasn’t yesterday in MLB. It has happened in pro ball, though, in the minors.

it was May 13, 1952. The pitcher was “Rocket” or “Necktie” Ron Necciai, then of the Pirates’ affiliate in Bristol, VA, Twins of the Appalachian League vs the Welch (WV, birthplace of Steve Harvey) Miners. His catcher (longtime MLB coach Henry Dunlop) estimated he took 200 pitches to complete the game. You see, Necciai was notoriously wild and ran up a lot of 3-2 counts, and none of the K’s were 1-2-3. Necciai in a recent interview stated he was more of a thrower than a pitcher, very self-deprecating. It also was not his only high-K game, taking out 20 in his first start that season, striking out 11 of 12 outs in a relief outing that year, and 24 in the very next start after the no-no. It wasn’t a perfect game, either. He hit a batter in the 4th, and one reached on an error in the 9th. There was a groundout in the second, because that 9th inning error was on a dropped throw to first (intentional) after the catcher dropped the third strike, allowing Necciai to ring up 4 in the final inning. He was just 19 at the time.

He did make it to the majors, briefly—getting called up in August that year. He retired at 22. Even in his time in the minors he had chronic stomach pains. Then, after getting to the bigs, he developed rotator cuff problems in his throwing arm. The shoulder healed, but the fastball that was his signature pitch was gone. He was quoted as saying that, if he hit a batter between the eyes, he’d think a mosquito bit him. He went 1-6 with a 7.04 ERA in that lone MLB call up with the Pirates. “You can’t walk the world in the big leagues,” he said. He also told of the advice Stan Musial, who was from the same home town, gave him: “throw strikes.”

In his time with the Pirates he also collected one hit, one walk, and one RBI. “I did it all!” He quipped.

He also described that 27 K no-hitter as “no big deal, it was in the minors.” I think I love this guy!

One thought on “The 27 Strikeout, 9 Inning No-Hitter

  1. Two names entered my head while reading this story:
    Moonlight Graham, the real player made famous by a fiction;
    Sidd Finch, a complete fantasy that a foolish, younger Angels fan ate up like cake when the story was published in the April 1 issue of Sports Illustrated.

    Now remember, Raysfan, you are now being compared favorably to writers Kinsella and Plimpton. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

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