Ian Snell lost his bid for a no-hitter with one out in the fifth inning last Sunday afternoon, giving up a clean single. Not only was it the first hit of the afternoon by the opposition, it was also the first hit ball of the afternoon by the opposition.
Little did I know when I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to attend Sunday’s AAA game at Victory Field between the Indians and the Toledo Mud Hens that I would say a game unlike any before.
Snell, a mediocre major-league right-handed pitcher was making his first start for the Tribe after being demoted by the Pirates.
On a sparlkling Sunday afternoon, with ‘Chamber of Commerce’ temperatures, Snell took the mound and promptly illustrated why even the lowly Pirates didn’t want him around anymore. He walked the leadoff batter on a 3-2 count.
What followed has never been equalled in baseball history. Snell went on to strike out the side. Then he did it again in the second. Then he did it again in the third. Then he did it again in the fourth. Then he struck out the lead-off batter in the fifth before giving up a base hit.
Thirteen strike outs in a row. The major league record is believed to be ten straight set by Tom Seaver. Snell went on to fan seventeen Toledo batters – in only SEVEN innings. He recored twenty-one outs and struck out seventeen of them.
Oh yeah, Indianapolis won 2-1 in ten innings but the story of the game was Snell.
Now I know the Toledo Mud Hens are not the Los Angeles Dodgers but still seventeen strikeouts is impressive whether it’s Little League or the big leagues.
This is one scorecard that I’ll keep for a long time.