On May 3, 1941, rookie hurler Hank Gornicki made his first major league start at Shibe Park in Philadelphia and turned in a one-hit performance. His effort led the way to a 6-0 Cardinals victory and the team's eighth win in a row. The rookie was assisted by home runs that came off the bats of left fielder Don Padgett and second baseman Creepy Crespi. Padgett's big blast was a solo shot in the fourth that got things going for the Birds, while Crespi's long ball came in the ninth to finish the day's scoring off. The true story of the day was the rookie who stood on the bump. The only hit he had allowed was a sixth inning single to Stan Benjamin. At the end of the day not one other batter could touch him. He final line was five strikeouts, five walks, and the lone hit. He was another rabbit pulled out of the Cardinals hat, as another rookie, Howie Krist had turned in a five-hit performance against those same Phillies the day before.
While Gornicki grabbed the headlines after the game was in the books, that start would be his only start for the Cardinals. The club was pitching rich at the time, so he never did find a spot in the rotation. He appeared in four games out of the bullpen, then was sent down to Rochester. Gornicki was sent to the Cubs for cash in September of that same season, however, the deal was vetoed by the commissioner of baseball. After it was all said and done the Pirates grabbed him off of waivers. Gornicki spent the '42, '43, and '46 seasons in Pittsburgh.He spent 1944 and 1945 in the service.
Once the career of Hank Gornicki came to a close he had posted a 15-19 record. In the eyes of some a guy like him may be looked at as insignificant. However, 75 years ago today Hank Gornicki came oh so close to tossing a no-no with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. That in itself is pretty significant. After his days on the diamond were over Hank Gornicki would live a long life. He passed away in 1996 at the age of 85. Usually, I am able to find quite a bit more about what former player did after their career ended, but was not able to do so in his case. I would imagine he lived a good life, and looked back at his days as a player with gleam in his eye. Every man who makes it to the big leagues, even if those days are short, should have that gleam in the eye when they look back. I certainly hope Hank did.
Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI194105030.shtml
This article provide some more information about Hank Gornicki: http://www.baseballinwartime.com/player_biographies/gornicki_hank.htm