DAVE RIGHETTI: THE NO HITTER, JULY 4, 1983.
He has not been a New York Yankee for a long time. Nevertheless, it seems whenever the Fourth of July comes around, some thoughts turn to what Dave Righetti accomplished on that Independence Day in 1983.
A holiday crowd of 41,077 was on hand at Yankee Stadium on Independence Day. Many of the fans wore Yankee hats that had been given away as a promotion for the game against the Boston Red Sox.
Dave Righetti had come to the Yankees in a multiple player deal that sent Sparky Lyle to Texas. His major league debut was as an end of the season call up on September 16, 1979. But it was not until 1981 that he returned to the Yankees to stay.
American League Rookie of the Year that 1981 season (8-4, 2.06 ERA), the player they called “Rags” won twice against Milwaukee in divisional play and once over Oakland in the LCS.
On this warm and sunny day, the 24-year-old Dave Righetti would make history. He would pitch a no-hitter against the BoSox. The stylish hurler walked four and struck out nine men, including Wade Boggs for the final out. Boggs, hitting .357 at the time, went down swinging on a hard slider, Righetti’s bread and butter pitch that day.
FRANK MESSER (GAME CALL, WABC RADIO):
The Yankees lead, 4-0. Glenn Hoffman is at second base, two outs, in the top of the ninth inning. And Dave Righetti on the threshold of making history here at Yankee Stadium. He set, the kick, and the pitch. . . HE STRUCK HIM OUT! RIGHETTI HAS PITCHED A NO-HITTER! DAVE RIGHETTI HAS PITCHED A NO-HITTER!
Ironically, it would be Righetti’s last season as a regular starting pitcher. The next year, he replaced Goose Gossage as the Yankees closer, and in 1986 went on to set the then-major league single season save record of 46.
The fourth of July no-hitter was the first by a lefthander in Yankee Stadium history, the first no-hitter by a Yankee pitcher since 1956, when Don Larsen tossed a perfect game. It was only the sixth regular-season no-hitter in Yankees history and the first since 1951.
Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.
His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort.A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/
The prolific author is at work on THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017)