By the law of averages, the weekend should have been a breather, a time for savoring and digesting the dramatic events of the weekend before: Bailey beating Landy, Needles winning the Derby, Dave Sime setting a world record in the 220-yard low hurdles, Don Ferrarese of Baltimore striking out 13 men in his first major league start....
Then, for the second time in eight days, John Landy ran a mile in under 4:00. Dave Sime broke another world record—in the 220-yard dash. Don Ferrarese beat the powerful Yankees with a two-hitter that was a no-hitter until the ninth. Meanwhile, just a subway ride away in Brooklyn, Carl Erskine was beating the Giants with the second no-hit game of his career.
The weekend that should have been a breather had turned out to be a spectacular, spine-tingling encore.
May 20, 1956
Nothing spreads, not even wildfire, like the news that a pitcher has a no-hit game going for him. In New York, on Saturday, May 12 the word was being passed from cab driver to doorman to elevator operator that the magic spell was on at not one, but two of the big city's ball parks. People at their television sets switched from Yankee Stadium to Ebbets Field and back again and yelled across courtyards and down air shafts: "How about that Ferrarese? How about that Erskine?"
It was more than a local matter in Brooklyn. A coast-to-coast television audience was watching the drama unfold, thanks to the happy chance that made CBS select Ebbets Field as the scene of its Game of the Week. At the scene itself were 24,588 fans, who began to sniff a no-hitter when a couple of great catches by Jackie Robinson and Carl Furillo saved Erskine from disaster in the fourth. From that point on, the feeling grew that luck and a puzzler of a slow curve were with the little right-hander this afternoon.
Carl needed more luck in the ninth and got it. With one out, the Giants trailing 3-0, Whitey Lockman sent the first pitch soaring high into right for what looked like a sure home run. But at the last instant, the ball hooked and went foul by a few feet. Lockman then grounded out, and so did Alvin Dark. As the crowd exploded, Dodger President Walter O'Malley—caught in the excitement—dashed off a $500 bonus check to Carl Erskine for the second no-hitter of his career.
...IN THE BRONX
In shutting out the Yankees 1 to 0 on two hits, 26-year-old Don Ferrarese of the Baltimore Orioles pitched a ball game that had more than one ironic aspect to it. First of all, Ferrarese was having his innings at the expense of an old benefactor named Casey Stengel, who, as manager of Oakland in the Pacific Coast League, gave the young left-hander his first chance in baseball.
However, as Casey Stengel himself would admit, an ironic aspect is something that works two ways. So it was with Don Ferrarese. Going into the ninth with his no-hitter, Don found himself looking, ironically, at Andy Carey, a fellow Californian, indeed a fellow alumnus of St. Mary's College. Don threw him a strike, then decided to give him a curve. Andy, with no friendly California feelings or old school spirit, slashed at the curve with a short, savage swing that resulted (how ironic can you get?) in a Baltimore Chop. The ball hit the plate and bounced high into the air. Ironically again, overanxious Don Ferrarese went after it (instead of letting Second Baseman Billy Gardner have it), then threw a bouncing throw to first. But Carey was already there. The spell was broken. The Yankee Stadium crowd groaned for Don.
After Hank Bauer got the second scratch hit, Don Ferrarese bore down to save his shutout. Then he walked off the field, no baseball immortal—just the kind of growing young southpaw that every manager dreams about.