The profile of an extremely unlucky man.
Why we like him: Another day, another Colt .45. Yesterday, after the Angels' Ervin Santana pitched a no-hitter after actually trailing in the first inning, I couldn't help but think about the only man in the history of the game who actually went on to get the loss in a no-hitter. Ken Johnson, to this day, remains the only pitcher ever to lose a complete game, nine-inning no-hitter. On April 23, 1964, while playing for the beloved Houston Colt .45s, Johnson pitched nine innings against the Cincinnati Reds without surrendering a hit and ended up losing the game 1-0.
The lone run in the contest was scored in the top of the ninth inning by none other than a spry, young 23-year old future legend, Pete Rose. With one out in the inning, Rose reached second base on a throwing error by Ken Johnson himself after a comeback grounder to the mound. After a Chico Ruiz ground out moved Rose over to third, Johnson induced a ground ball from Vada Pinson, but another costly error charged to Hall-of-Famer-to-be Nellie Fox allowed Rose to score. The next batter, Frank Robinson popped out to left to end the inning. The Colt .45s failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, and Johnson's dubious date with destiny had arrived.
Johnson's final line for the day: 9IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 R, 0 ER, Loss. Ouch.
Three years later, the Orioles' Steve Barber and Stu Miller managed to combine for a no-no and still lose 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers. In 1990 Andy Hawkins of the Yankees lost an eight-inning no-hitter at Chicago's Comiskey Park 4-0 after 3 errors in the eighth. However, no one has ever managed to be as good as Ken Johnson was that day and lose. As good as his stuff may have been, his luck was that much worse.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ken Johnson, Ballplayer.