From: Todd B
To: Scott, Julie, Steve P, Steve N, Kelly, Joe S
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002  9:29 pm
Subject: 000 000 000 – 0 0 4

PHILS’ RUTHVEN FIRES FIRST SP78 NO-HITTER

In the end, even Mets fans were pulling for him.

With a capacity Shea Stadium crowd on its feet, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Dick Ruthven capped off a magical night by enticing Mets lead-off man Joel Youngblood to ground out meekly to third, bringing to a close a 5-0 Phillies win over the Mets and the first no-hit, no-run game of the SP78 Replay season.

Ruthven, whose prior claim to fame was his involvement in a brawl with Cliff Johnson during the 1977 season, became the first National League pitcher to toss a no-hitter since Pirates ace John Candelaria’s 9-0 gem over the Braves late in the 1976 campaign. He is also the first Phillies hurler since Rick Wise in 1971 to throw a hitless game, and only the fifth in team history to accomplish the feat.

“I can’t believe I pulled this off,” said an elated Ruthven after the game. “I mean, c’mon…I’m Dick Ruthven, for chrissake. Typically, I’m lucky to get out of a game alive.”

With a C-SPAN television audience watching, Ruthven (8-6) baffled New York batters for most of the contest with a combination of low fastballs and inside curves, striking out four and allowing only two batters to reach base. His only mistake came in the third inning, when he walked Mets third-sacker Lenny Randle on four pitches. From that point on, however, it was nothing but perfection. “I didn’t even realize I was close ’til Schmidtie (teammate Mike Schmidt) let the cat out of the bag during the seventh inning stretch,” Ruthven explained. “Thankfully, I don’t believe in that ‘don’t curse him’ hooey.”

Compared to this season’s other no-hit close calls, Ruthven’s nine innings were a piece of cake: Ed Halicki of the Giants was backed by several superb defensive plays during his near-perfect outing in April, and Yankee demi-god Ron Guidry’s one-hit masterpiece over the Blue Jays in May was made possible in part by strong provincial winds, which kept several deep Toronto drives inside the park. But for Ruthven, his no-hitter could best be described as mundane; every Met grounder was routine, and every fly ball was effortlessly hauled in by the trio of fleet Phillie outfielders. Only the walk to Randle, and a second inning grounder by Willie Montanez that was botched by shortstop Bud Harrelson, kept Ruthven from a perfect game.

The Phils opened their offensive attack in the second inning with a Harrelson seeing-eye single that scored Richie Hebner easily from second. Hebner would score again in the fourth on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball, and backstop Bob Boone would make it a 3-0 game with a lead-off solo home run in the sixth, his second HR of the year. Harrelson would add two more runs later in the game to round out the scoring.

Asked if his performance might earn him a spot on the NL All-Star pitching roster, Ruthven replied, “I don’t know…can one shining moment in a season put a player into the All-Star Game?”

Maybe. Perhaps Steve Ontiveros or Darrel Chaney has the answer to that question…

SP78 Newswire – 02/11/02

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