Opening Day always brings feelings of hope and optimism among baseball fans.
On the down side, nothing can be worse than watching your favorite team lose without getting a hit on the first day of the season.
That’s what happened to the Chicago White Sox faithful on April 16, 1940.
Hall-of-Fame legend Bob Feller tossed a no-hitter for the Cleveland Indians that afternoon. The Indians won 1-0 over the White Sox at Comiskey Park in what is the only no-hitter ever thrown on Opening Day.
Feller struck out eight and walked five in blanking the Chicago line-up. White Sox starter Eddie Smith was pretty good as well giving up just the one run on six hits in eight innings.
The 21-year old Feller would go on to post a 27-11 record in 1940, which was the most wins in a season during his career. Feller played 18 seasons (1936-41, 1945-56) for the Indians on his way to the Hall of Fame in 1962. He had a career mark of 266-162 with 2,581 strikeouts.
Feller tossed three no-hitters in his career, while setting a standard with a dozen one-hitters, which was eventually tied by another well-known Hall-of-Fame pitcher in Nolan Ryan.
Hemsley, who was behind the plate for Feller’s gem, played 19 big league seasons from 1928-47. In addition to the Indians, the five-time all-star was a member of the St. Louis Browns, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
Smith pitched for 10 seasons in the majors with a 73-113 record for the White Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and the Box Red Sox. In 1940, the two-time all-star had a career-high 14 wins with nine losses.
Cleveland finished the 1940 season at 89-65 and just one game behind the American League champion Detroit Tigers (90-64), who eventually lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
The White Sox ended the year at 82-72 and in the tie for fourth with the Red Sox.