On this date in Texas Rangers history, pitcher Bert Blyleven threw the second no-hitter in franchise history.
The game was on September 22, 1977, as the Rangers were in Anaheim to play the California Angels. While he didn’t throw in this game, future no-hit king and future Rangers legend Nolan Ryan was on the Angels roster. He had already thrown three no-hitters to that point in his career.
But the stars aligned for Blyleven that night. He grew up in Garden Grove, California, which is about 10 miles from Anaheim. Nearly 30 members of his family were in attendance. And, in true late-September road game style, less than 9,000 were in attendance.
But that mattered little to Blyleven, who made history. The Rangers staked him to a big lead, as the Rangers ended up winning, 6-0. Just two Angels reached base: Bert Campaneris, who reached on an error, and Carlos May, who walked with two outs in the ninth. Blyleven escaped both, as he finished the game with seven strikeouts, three of which came in the final six outs of the game.
It was a great night for Blyleven. It was also his last game on the hill for the Rangers. In December of 1977, the Rangers traded Blyleven to Pittsburgh. There, he would become teammates with Jim Bibby, who threw the first no-hitter in Rangers history, and the pair would win a World Series with Pittsburgh in 1979. Blyleven ended his career in 1992 with, of course, his hometown Angels.
Blyleven became a Hall of Famer in 2011, but he had to wait a long time to get to Cooperstown (he was elected in his 14th ballot). He might have had an easier road had he won 300 games. He fell just short with 287 victories, along with 3,701 strikeouts. He was a two-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion, led the American League in strikeouts in 1985 and had his No. 28 retired by the Twins, the team he is most associated with.
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September 22, 1985: Mike Mason became the first Rangers left-handed pitcher to strike out 10 or more hitters in one game. Mason fanned 11 in the contest against the Seattle Mariners. Mason later became the first southpaw in Rangers history to accomplish the feat twice in less than a year, striking out 10 Kansas City Royals on May 20, 1986.
September 22, 1993: Nolan Ryan’s career came to an abrupt end on this date, after he threw a pitch to Seattle’s Dave Magadan at The Kingdome in Seattle. The 1-1 offering to Magadan tore the ulnar collateral ligament in Ryan’s right arm, shutting him down for the year. Ryan had already announced he was retiring at the end of the season. Magadan would go on to become a hitting coach for the Rangers once his playing career ended.
September 22, 1998: Rick Helling won his 20th game of the season, throwing eight innings of three-hit ball and giving up just one run in a 9-1 win over Anaheim. With the victory, Helling became the third 20-game winner in Rangers history.
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