45 years ago, a Phillies pitcher had one of the most incredible games of all time
Major League Baseball has seen splendid pitchers, superb hitters and a few dozen great pitchers who can hit extraordinarily well. That small lot of players includes Madison Bumgarner, who has jacked 11 home runs in 183 at-bats since the start of the 2014 season and compiled a miniscule 0.25 World Series ERA.
But there’s just one player who accomplished what former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Rick Wise did on one nearly perfect day on June 23, 1971: He tossed a no-hitter and blasted two home runs in the same game. Courtesy of Stats LLC:
– Since 1913, 65 pitchers have had a multi-home run game
– Thirty-five times since 1913 a pitcher has recorded both a multi-home run game a complete game
Rick Wise is the only pitcher of the aforementioned 35 to throw a no-hitter.
The show of power was no fluke — Wise had already swatted seven career homers — nor was the pitching as he entered the 1971 season with a 3.80 ERA and 58 career wins. But Wise sure picked a heck of a lineup to mow down while recovering from the flu.
The Phillies were visiting the Reds during the Big Red Machine era. Wise faced a lineup that included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, George Foster, Tony Perez and Dave Concepcion. If Wise were an NFL running back, it would be as if he rushed for 250 yards against the league’s top rushing defense and scored two defensive touchdowns as well.
Wise struck out just three and issued a free pass to Concepcion in the sixth inning — the only thing separating the no-hitter from a perfect game.
Typically a pitcher’s supporting cast makes a great defensive play or two during trophy case games like these, but on that night the ball just broke his way and didn’t require any spectacular leather.
The final out? The Reds leadoff batter, Hit King Pete Rose. "He was the last hitter you wanted to see with one out remaining in a no-no" Wise said. Here it is:
As for Wise’s performance at the dish, he hit a two-run homer against Reds starter Ross Grimsley in the fifth, and the second in the eighth inning against top Reds relief pitcher Clay Carroll. Here’s that shot:
Wise accounted for three RBI in the 4-0 Phillies win.
"It was probably the greatest game of my career" Wise told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2005. "Any no-hitter against any major-league club is quite an accomplishment, but on the road against Cincinnati, it made for a very special night."
Indeed. And the feat remains Rick Wise’s alone.