Hawthorn: Bill Stoneman’s second no-hitter a bright ending to a dismal season

From SABR member Tom Hawthorn at Blogspot.com on June 16, 2015:

The Montreal Expos faced a gruelling schedule of eight games over five days to bring an end to an unsatisfying 1972 campaign. The club had only recently ended a string of shutout losses, finally scoring a run after putting up 32 innings’ worth of goose eggs.

On October 2, the Expos faced the visiting New York Mets for the first of back-to-back doubleheaders. Bill Stoneman (11-14) got the assignment for the first game, his final scheduled start in a campaign of disappointment. He had established himself as one of the National League’s premier right-handers the previous season, finishing third in strikeouts (behind only Tom Seaver and Ferguson Jenkins) while winning 17 games, including a one-hitter against the Padres. The Expos star pitcher remained a dependable workhorse, but he was not striking out batters as often, while he showed occasional wildness and a tendency to walk too many batters.

With the Expos long since eliminated from contention, the end of the ’72 baseball season was overshadowed in Canada by the drama of the 1972 Summit Series pitting Canadian hockey professionals against the best of the Soviet Union. The thrilling showdown, recalled later in a book titled, “30 days in September,” gripped the nation, as Team Canada battled back from a deficit to score a series-winning goal with only 34 seconds left in the final game.

The Canadians returned in triumph from Moscow at the airport in Montreal, where they were met by the mayor, the prime minister, and 10,000 delirious fans. The newspapers on the day of the game were filled with page after page of stories about the returning hockey heroes. Baseball was relegated to the sixth page of The Gazette’s sports section, behind even reports on football’s Montreal Alouettes.

Read the full article here: http://www.tomhawthorn.blogspot.ca/2015/06/stonemans-second-no-hitter-bright.html

Originally published: June 17, 2015. Last Updated: June 17, 2015.