Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Meal Ticket

A little "This Date in Baseball History" for you today:

1929: Giants' hurler Carl Hubbell becomes the first left-hander in 13 seasons to throw a no-hitter as he beats the Pirates, 11-0.

Let me tell you more about Carl Hubbell.

Known as both "The Meal Ticket" and "King Carl," Hubbell earned his nicknames with a trademark screwball that carried the Giants to three pennants in the late 1920s and 1930s. He actually threw two different screwballs, a sidearm pitch that dropped down and away from right-handed batters and faster, overhand throw that broke more sharply.

In fact, his left arm was permanently damaged by all the screwballs. The Cardinals’ Pepper Martin said “his left hand turns the wrong way” and called him a freak. “No wonder he’s such a good pitcher,” Martin added. And the great writer Jim Murray wrote that his left arm “looks as if he put it on in the dark.”

Still, it was no doubt worth it for Hubbell. His accomplishments are many: 46 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, five 20-win seasons, three ERA championships. But his most famous feat came in the 1934 All-Star game, when he struck out five future Hall of Famers in a row—Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin.

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