Sunday August 26, 1962
There had been four previous no-hit games pitched in 1962, so a rarity was almost becoming commonplace for baseball fans. Not so for Calvin Griffith, whose franchise had not seen a no-hitter since Bobby Burke did it in 1931.
Jack Kralick seemed like an unlikely candidate to toss the team’s first no-hitter in 31 years. He was signed by the White Sox in 1955 but was released soon after by the Sox who felt that he didn’t have major league potential. In 1958, after a few years playing semi-pro ball in Michigan, Dick Wiencick, a scout for the Senators, saw Kralick pitch a no-hitter for the Grand Rapids Sullivans and convinced Calvin Griffith to sign the lefty.
Kralick was known more for his fidgeting on the mound than any results he got in his first few seasons in the majors, and was called “Jittery Jack Kralick” in The Sporting News on more than a few occasions. After a tough debut season in Washington, Kralick quietly put up some solid numbers for the team in 1960 and 1961 (the latter season in Minnesota), but pitched in near obscurity partially due to the rest of the pitching talent on the early Twins teams (Pascual, Kaat).
August 26 was Kralick’s day, however, and his was the fifth no-hitter in the majors that year. The Sporting News called Kralick’s the “most thrilling” of the five due to the fact that Kralick was just two outs away from pitching the first perfect game in the majors in almost 40 years. A walk issued to pinch-hitter George Alusik, who had homered against Kralick a few weeks earlier, was the only blemish on Kralick’s gem.
What was even more impressive was that Kralick’s feat was accomplished against the Kansas City A’s, one of baseball’s better offenses in 1962. Just two days earlier the same A’s team scored 12 runs off of the Twins.
The Twins wouldn’t have to wait 31 years to see another no-no. Actually, it was just one day short of five years to the day when the franchise would see another.
Born August 27, 1970
Not a Twin, but a Twins Killer. In 153 games against the Twins, Thome is hitting .313/.408/.630 with 48 HR (most against any franchise).