It was a typical, brisk Oakland evening when we all arrived at the ballpark on June 11, 1990. Seated in our normal seats along the first base line, we all had a sense when Roy Steele rattled off the pre-game introductions that we could be in for a long evening. It was one of those nights when Manager Tony LaRussa had decided to rest some of his starters. That evening, the A's were without Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Terry Steinbach, and Carney Lansford. To make matters worse, one of the game's greatest pitchers was to oppose the A's weakend line-up that evening.
Before Nolan Ryan even had a chance to throw a pitch, A's starter Scott Sanderson (aka Human Rain Delay) was tagged for two runs. For most of us, there was an impending sense that a victory was not in order for our men in green and gold that evening. However, none of us could have anticipated that the evening would carry such historic implications.
In fact, as late as the 6th inning, some of the people in my party were looking to head home to warmer climates and early bedtimes. As no-hitters go, this one was a snoozer, at least early on. Sanderson, the A's fifth starter, set a slow pace to the game, as he struggled with his command. He lasted 6 long innings, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits and walking two. Ryan was also slow out of the gate. Despite only walking two batters, he worked deep into counts on numerous occasions, racking up 14 strikeouts. In all, the game lasted a long 2 hours and 49 minutes.
Thankfully, we stayed on past the 6th inning, for once Sanderson departed the pace of the game increased and the excitement built as Ryan moved closer and closer to history. Although I never root for my team to fail, even I was standing and cheering for Ryan as he worked into the 9th inning. Not even the no-hit foil himself, Ken Phelps, could break up the bid with a pinch-hit performance late in the game. When that final flyball landed in Ruben Sierra's glove near the bullpen in rightfield, it was an amazing accomplishment to behold. That a man Ryan's age could so thoroughly dominate a team as good as the A's were that season (with or without their full array of superstars) was a stupendous feat. Below is the boxscore for that historic game, 14 years ago.
Gary Pettis cf 5 1 2 0
Rafael Palmeiro 1b 4 1 0 0
Julio Franco 2b 4 2 2 4
Ruben Sierra rf 3 0 1 0
Harold Baines dh 4 0 1 0
Pete Incaviglia lf 4 0 1 0
John Russell c 3 1 1 1
Steve Buechele 3b 4 0 0 0
Jeff Huson ss 3 0 1 0
Totals 34 5 9 5
Rickey Henderson lf 4 0 0 0
Willie Randolph 2b 4 0 0 0
Doug Jennings 1b 3 0 0 0
Ron Hassey dh 3 0 0 0
Felix Jose rf 3 0 0 0
Dave Henderson cf 3 0 0 0
Jamie Quirk c 2 0 0 0
Carney Lansford ph-dh 1 0 0 0
Terry Stienbach c 0 0 0 0
Walt Weiss ss 2 0 0 0
Mike Gallego 3b 1 0 0 0
Ken Phelps ph-dh 1 0 0 0
Totals 27 0 0 0
Home Runs: Franco 2, Russell.
Left On Base: Texas 6, Oakland 2.
Stolen Bases: Pettis, Sierra, Weiss
Nolan Ryan 9 0 0 0 2 14
Scott Sanderson 6 8 5 5 2 3
Mike Norris 2 1 0 0 2 3
Gene Nelson 1 0 0 0 0 0
Losing Pitcher: Scott Sanderson, Oakland
Winning Pitcher: Nolan Ryan, Texas
Length Of Game: 2:49.
Umpires: HP: Denkinger, 1B: Merrill, 2B: Shulock, 3B: McClelland
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