100 years ago: Bill Gatewood throws first no-hitter in Negro National League history

Bill Gatewood (NOIRTECH INC.)On June 6, 1921, Bill Gatewood, nearing his 40th birthday, took the mound at Detroit’s Mack Park in a Negro National League game between his Detroit Stars and the visiting Cincinnati Cuban Stars. Gatewood made history that day, facing only 29 batters in completing the first-ever no-hitter in Rube Foster’s two-year-old Negro National League, leading the Stars to a 4-0 win over the Cuban Stars. He even contributed a home run and an RBI single to the Stars’ attack.

The SABR Baseball Games Project, in support of SABR’s Century Committee’s celebration of the 1921 baseball season, commemorates the 100th anniversary of Gatewood’s gem with a new article on the game written by Donna L. Halper.

Follow the Games Project and Century Committee throughout 2021 for coverage of the 1921 season. The Games Project has recently published 15 articles on historically significant games from May 1921 involving National League, American League, and Negro National League teams.

Highlights of May 1921 include: a power display by the emergent New York Yankees, an old favorite supporting the Cleveland Indians’ title defense, breakout seasons by Austin McHenry of the St. Louis Cardinals and Whitey Glazner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a charity exhibition game between the Boston Braves and Boston College, and Negro National League action from Columbus, Detroit, and Indianapolis.

More coverage of the games, teams, and personalities that made 1921 such a pivotal season in the game’s history will follow during the coming months. Members and baseball fans can follow the 1921 season “in real time” through posts on SABR’s Twitter account and Facebook group, the Games Project’s Twitter account and Facebook page, and the Games Project web page.

— John Fredland



Originally published: June 4, 2021. Last Updated: June 2, 2021.

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