September 7, 2016
Ken Holtzman’s No Hitter: the full story
As I’ve said, I’ve been reading the book Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs, (2006) by Doug Feldmann (Lincoln, NE: Board of Regents, University of Nebraska). I’ve also pointed out that in a game that has significance, revealing the hand of God clearly, usually is memorable – out-of-the-ordinary, with strange or unusual plays that make it stand out. No-hitters often are signs that bring our attention to those games.
Ken Holtzman’s no-hitter on the 19th of August, 1969, was such a game. The Cubs won 3 – 0 over the team that would eventually win the Western Division of the National League. They were a good hitting team, especially including one of the greatest hitters of all time, Hank Aaron. Holtzman pitched a great game to beat them, but the game was very unusual for a lot of reasons.
- Ken Holtzman, despite being in the middle of the Cubs’ mock-prayer meeting on the bus going from the airport to the hotel in New York on July 7th, was still a blessed individual. That’s because he was Jewish – and the Lord promised Abraham:” I will curse those who curse you [and your descendants], and I will bless those who bless you [and your descendants]. Ken Holtzman won one World Series game in 1972 – not for the Cubs, but for the Oakland A’s. He won Game One, manifesting the broken curse that had been on the A’s since 1930 (when Connie Mack last won a World Series, then broke up his team). The A’s had a 40-year “Wandering in the Wilderness” curse broken when Holtzman beat the Reds (which, not coincidently, was the first World Series game announced by Al Michaels – who, yes, is also Jewish).
- This was a ball hit in the game by Hank Aaron that was described as follows by Doug Feldmann (again: I did not write this):
(p. 196) In the seventh inning a supernatural hand seemed to reach up and grab a ball that Aaron hit that by all accounts was destined for the left-field stands; witnesses claimed that the baseball had actually traveled over the wall, suspended in mid-air. The ball then dropped like a shot duck into the waiting glove of a surprised Billy Williams, who had his back to the wall.
A supernatural hand, indeed!
- Holtzman’s no-hitter was also unusual because he had no strikeouts – a feat that hadn’t happened in 50 years.
- Unfortunately for the ’69 Cubs, that was the high water mark of the season. After that, it was a “Miracle Collapse” to the team they were 9 games ahead of at the time, the Mets.
Once more – Elohim is in control of ALL things!