Saturday, April 18, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter: Perfect Game Near Miss Brian Holman

I understand we have more "Lo-Hitter" than No-Hitter postings right now, but I assure you the real ones are coming.

1993 Donruss #385 Brian Holman

On April 20th 1990 the Seattle Mariners found themselves involved in their second no-hitter moment of the young season. During the opening series of the season they were the victims of a combined no-hitter by Mark Langston and Mike Witt.

Nine days later the M's Brian Holman was facing the Oakland A's and was perfect for 8 2/3 innings.

Alas, Brian Holman was not destined to pitch the 8th Perfect Game in Major League History. With the A's down to their final out manager Tony LaRussa sent out Ken Phelps to pinch hit for Mike Gallego. 

Phelps Homered to deep right field.

In one pitch Holman lost perfect game, No-Hitter and shutout.

In a bit of Irony after failing to retire Ken Phelps,  Holman struck out Future Hall of Famer and on-base machine Rickey Henderson.

Box Score Notes
Yes the Ken Phelps that broke up Holman's perfect game is the same Ken Phelps that Frank Costanza confronts George Steinbrenner about in a 1996 episode of Seinfeld.

The most intriguing oddity of the box score is that despite this being an AL game, Brian Holman made a plate appearance. In the 9th inning Holman batted because DH Pete O'Brien came in as a defensive replacement for Alvin Davis. For better or worse Holman reached on a Mike Gallego error. This meant that Holman also had to run the bases late in the game.

Who knows, maybe batting or being on the bases tired Brian Holman out just enough that he didn't get everything on a the pitch he threw to Ken Phelps and that late to the fateful hit.

This would have likely happened regardless of the error, but Ken Phelps was pinch hitting for.....You got it Mike Gallego.

1990 was Ken Phelps final year in baseball and the Perfect Game busting hit was the last Home Run of his career.

In addition to Rickey Henderson the A's formidable lineup included the Bash Brohters, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.

The Ms defense behind Holman included Ken Griffey Jr covering Center Field and the pre-DH Edgar Martinez at third base. Dave Valle was the man behind the plate.

1992 Donruss #385 Brian Holman (b-side)

Check the transaction at the bottom of the card. Holman was traded for Mark Langston, who pitched the first Year of the No-Hitter Gem, and was traded with Randy Johnson, who we will be hearing from a bit later in the season.

It is a shame that Holman was unable to finish his no-hitter, How many trades involve 3 different players that have been able to accomplish the feat? 

2015 Brian Holman
Today Holman works as a motivational speaker and pitching instructor.

Sources and Links
Year of the No-Hitter Index
Brian Holman (linkedin)
Hardball Times

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions