Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 1999: Jiminez Tosses a No-No In The Desert

      On June 25, 1999,  a 25-year-old rookie by the name of Jose Jiminez walked into Arizona with a 3-7 record, an E.R.A. over 6, and he was about to face one of the most dominant pitchers of the era: Randy Johnson... no problem.  Jiminez struck out eight, walked two, and hit a batter on his way to tossing the first no hitter for the Cardinals since 1983.  

      It was a true duel. Johnson was dealing, and he held the Redbirds hitless until the fourth. The big lefty kept them off the scoreboard until he walked two men in the ninth, before leftfielder Thomas Howard came through with a two out rbi single to put the Cardinals on top 1-0.  It was all the Dominican born Cardinals hurler would need. Although, David Dellucci nearly spoiled the no-no with one out in the ninth when he dropped a sinking liner into right that took a spectacular diving play by Eric Davis to keep it from falling in. Davis had also made a spectacular grab earlier in the ballgame. Jiminez retired Tony Womack with a slow roller to Joe McEwing at second, who fired the ball to a triumphant Mark McGwire, who celebrated with his teammates by mobbing the no-hit hero of the day. 

     Before that  game started 45, 540 souls walked through the turnstiles  at Bank One Ballpark expecting to witness a dominant outing by Randy Johnson, and they did. The Big Unit struck out 14, and picked up the 2,500th strikeout of his career in what was a true gem for both pitchers. However, the gem by Jiminez shined quite a bit brighter.  The no-hitter was the first for a Cardinals rookie since Paul Dean in 1934, and the first for the club since Bob Forsch accomplished the feat in 1983. The last man to achieve the feat with the Birds on the Bat across his chest was Bud Smith in 2001. 

Check out the box score:

Watch the final out here with the Moon Man Mike Shannon on the mic: 

     Jiminez posted a 5-14 record for the Cardinals during that '99 season, then was traded to the Colorado Rockies during the offseason as part of a package deal that brought Darryl Kile, Dave Veres, and Luther Hackman to the Gateway City.

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