St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ray Washburn had a tough act to follow on Sept. 18, 1968.
Future National Baseball Hall of Fame member Bob Gibson was in the midst of one of the greatest seasons a pitcher would ever put together for St. Louis.
One day before Washburn was scheduled to take the mound in San Francisco Giants, Gibson had just tossed a four-hitter in Candlestick Park.
Washburn allowed a solo home run to Giants second baseman Ron Hunt as the Cardinals would lose 1-0.
San Francisco’s Gaylord Perry, who would eventually join Gibson in the Hall of Fame, was better that his rival as he threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals.
Washburn was quite successful as he pitched his way into major league baseball history the day after the battle between Perry and Gibson.
It would be the first time that there were back-to-back no-hitters on consecutive days.
The right-hander struck out eight and walked five in his gem. He also had an offensive role in the outcome.
After third baseman Mike Shannon had a RBI double in the seventh for the game’s first run, the Cardinals scored their last in the eighth. Shortstop Dick Schofield doubled to begin the frame. Washburn sacrificed him to third and centerfielder Curt Flood knocked him in with an infield single.
Washburn had his best season in 1968 as he posted a 14-8 record and a 2.26 ERA for the Cardinals as they captured the National League pennant before losing in the World Series to the Detroit Tigers.
In his 10-year career, Washburn was 72-64 with a 3.53 ERA. He pitched for the Cardinals as they won the World Series in 1967. He was traded to the Cincinnati prior to the 1970 season and he was 4-4 for the Reds as they won the NL West and pennant before they fell to the Baltimore Orioles in the Fall Classic.
Perry would end the 1968 season at 16-15 with an ERA of 2.45. He won 314 games in his 22-year career that ended with his Hall of Fame induction in 1991.
The right-hander won the American League Cy Young Award for the Cleveland Indians in 1972.
In 1978, he became the first pitcher to win the honor in both leagues as he claimed award with San Diego Padres.
He won over 20 games five times in his career and was a five-time all-star and started the mid-summer event in 1974.
The Second Time
Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds and Don Wilson of the Houston Astros would later pitch back-to-back no-hitters during the same series at Crosley Field in 1969, marking the second time it would happen in the big leagues.