3. Bob Feller’s Opening Day No-Hitter for the Cleveland Indians
As I’ve said, accomplishing something done rarely or doing something for the first time has to at least be considered for a list like this. Doing both should all but secure a spot and that’s where Bob Feller‘s Opening Day no-hitter in 1940 settles.
In the history of baseball there has been just one no-hitter on Opening Day and that record belongs to Bob Feller. There’s been times where it has seemed like a possibility, but Feller is still the only one to do it.
On April 16, 1940 a 21-year old Feller took the mound to kickoff the campaign against the Chicago White Sox. Feller was coming off a third place finish in the MVP voting and was entering his fifth season in the big leagues – yes, his fifth season at just 21 years old. What would be an incredibly historical season for Feller started off in the best way imaginable.
Feller struck out just eight batters over the course of the nine innings and walked five, facing a total of 33 batters on his way to a no-hitter. The outing would set up a season in which Feller finished second in the MVP voting while leading the majors in wins (27), complete games (31), games started (37), innings pitched (320.1), strikeouts (261) and batters faced (1,304). He also led the American League in ERA (2.61), total games pitched (43), shutouts (4) and WHIP (1.333).