Ken Holtzman : biography
Holtzman again faced Aaron in the 9th, and got him to ground out to complete the no-hitter. The Cubs went on to crushing disappointment that year, leading the Eastern Division for much of the season before faltering and finishing in 2nd place, 8 games behind the New York Mets.
In 1970 Holtzman had his best year with the Cubs, with a 17–11 record and a 3.38 ERA, and finished 3rd in the NL in starts (38), 5th in both strikeouts (202) and innings pitched (287⅔), 6th in complete games (15), and 9th in wins.
On June 3, 1971, showing a knack for facing down powerful-hitting teams, Holtzman repeated his earlier feat with a no-hitter—the first ever at Riverfront Stadium — against the defending league champion Cincinnati Reds, blanking the "Big Red Machine" 1–0 during what would prove to be his final year with the Cubs. In doing so, he became the first Cubs pitcher since Larry Corcoran (who had three from 1880 to 1884) to have two no-hitters for the team.
Oakland Athletics (1972–75)
After the 1971 season, Holtzman, having requested a trade, was dealt to the Oakland Athletics in November in exchange for outfielder Rick Monday. This was just as the team began its run of three consecutive World Series championships.
Joining a staff that featured Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter, he won 19 games in 1972 (7th in the AL) and was named to the All-Star team for the first time. He lost Game 3 of the 1972 American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers as opposing pitcher Joe Coleman set an ALCS record with 14 strikeouts; but after Oakland won the ALCS in five games, Holtzman won Game 1 of the World Series against the Reds. He started Game 4, but left in the eighth inning with a 1–0 lead and a runner on third base; the Reds scored twice to take the lead, but Oakland scored twice in the ninth inning to win 3–2. He relieved Hunter in the eighth inning of Game 7 with a 3–1 lead, but after surrendering a double to Joe Morgan he was replaced by Rollie Fingers. The A’s hung on for a 3–2 win, taking their first Series title since 1930 when the team was located in Philadelphia.
In 1973 Holtzman led the A’s with a 2.97 ERA (6th best in the league) as each of their three top starters won 20 or more games. He was again an All-Star, going 21–13 in 40 starts (his 21 wins 4th-best in the AL) with 157 strikeouts. Over the next 33 years only two other left-handers had as many starts in a season. He had a magnificent outing in the 1973 ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles, winning an 11-inning 2–1 duel against Mike Cuellar in Game 3 when Bert Campaneris homered to lead off the last inning. He started three times in the 1973 World Series against the Mets, winning Game 1 by a 2–1 score, but lasting only ⅓ of an inning in Game 4, departing after a 3-run homer by Rusty Staub was followed by two more baserunners. He recovered to win Game 7, leaving in the 6th inning with a 5–1 lead as the A’s took the game 5–2 and their second straight title. In both his victories, he also scored the first run for the A’s.
He again won 19 games in 1974, but this time also endured 17 losses despite an excellent 3.07 ERA, which ranked 11th in the League. Again facing the Orioles in the 1974 ALCS, he pitched a 5–0 shutout in Game 2, taking a one-hitter into the eighth inning and allowing only five singles. Against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, he started Game 1 but was pulled in the fifth inning with a 2–1 lead; the A’s went on to win 3–2. He won Game 4 by a 5–2 score, even hitting a home run off Andy Messersmith (the designated hitter was not yet in use in World Series play) in the third inning for a 1–0 lead; during the nine years in which he batted regularly during the season, he had only 2 home runs. Oakland went on to win Game 5, becoming the first team since the 1949–53 Yankees to win three consecutive Series.
Holtzman had an 18–14 record for the 1975 A’s as they again won the American League’s Western Division. On June 8 of that year, against the Detroit Tigers, he had what would have been his third career no-hitter broken up with two out in the ninth by a Tom Veryzer double; he would have become the third pitcher (after Cy Young and Jim Bunning) to pitch no-hitters in both leagues. Holtzman lost Games 1 and 3 of the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox as the A’s were swept. He was 4th in the AL in games started (38), 6th in hits allowed per 9 innings pitched (7.33), and 7th in wins.