While watching the beginning of what has become this amazing pitchers’ duel between the Red Sox and Yankees (it’s now in the 12th, still scoreless), I wondered when the last time was that a team pitched a no-hitter against its chief rival. At the time, Josh Beckett hadn’t allowed a hit, though it was only through two innings.
The answer: 1992, when the Dodgers’ Kevin Gross no-hit the Giants. The last time in the AL was when Dave Righetti blanked the Red Sox in 1983.
In my quick, non-scientific scanning of the no-hitter list, I was looking for true, traditional rivals, the kind that even casual baseball fans know about. If Tigers-White Sox is any kind of rivalry other than (now) AL Central, it’s not known outside of those two cities. So basically, I was looking for Yankees-Red Sox, Giants-Dodgers, Cubs-Cardinals or, to a lesser extent, the likes of Mets-Phillies or A’s-Angels. But I didn’t have to go back that far.
Later, with Johnny Damon at bat, I started to wonder who the last star was — or most recent stars were — to leave his debut organization via free agency. Damon doesn’t qualify — he debuted with the Royals but was traded to the A’s, so his leaving the Red Sox isn’t part of this. But with so many teams either locking up their young stars or trading them as they approach free agency, it doesn’t happen quite as often — unless you’re with the A’s.
Oakland GM Billy Beane has tried both methods — he let Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and Barry Zito walk, yet traded Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. And there was Vlad Guerrero leaving the Expos for the Angels and Manny Ramirez moving from Cleveland to Boston.
And of course there was A-Rod. After his trade from Texas to the Yankees (and the 2007 World Series LOOK AT ME! opt-out, then re-signing with the Yanks), his days as a Mariner have faded far into the background. Wonder what the Mariners could have gotten for him had they traded him, as they did with Ken Griffey Jr. It was only recently that A-Rod’s at-bats as a Yankee surpassed his total from the Seattle days, further distancing himself from the young, carefree superstar who was the game’s best pure talent to today’s idiosyncratic, starlet-dating megastar who now only seems to be liked by his own fans.