Former Mohawk Valley DiamondDawg, John Means, Hurls MLB No-Hitter
Congratulations to former Mohawk Valley DiamondDawg John Means, who on Wednesday tossed a no-hitter for the Baltimore Orioles, and narrowly missed the rarest of the rare, a perfect game.
Means, who spent one summer in Herkimer County as member of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, retired all 27 Seattle Mariners he faced in Wednesday's game, a 6-0 Orioles win, and the first individual no-hitter for the O's in over 50 years!.
A couple of follow up notes on the above sentence. First off, Means would have hurled a perfect game had it not been for a wild pitch. He actually struck out Sam Haggerty in the third-inning, but that third strike got away from the catcher, allowing Haggerty to advance to first base. Soon after, he was thrown out trying to steal second, which is how Means was able to face the nine-inning minimum of 27 batters. Had that third strike not 'gotten away', it would have been a perfect game, something that's only been done 23 times in MLB history.
Second, it's the first 'individual no-hitter' for Baltimore since Jim Palmer tossed a no-no in 1969. However, in 1991, four Orioles pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter - a feat even more rare than the individual no-hitter.
WIBX spoke with DiamondDawgs owner Travis Heiser on Wednesday, who shared his thoughts on Means when he was coming up as a young pitcher:
''When John was here he was young. A freshman from Fort Scott Community College. He was drafted out of high school, went to Fort Scott and pitched well...a true lefty, threw a lot of strikes, a hard nosed kid who knew what it takes to pitch. He left us after out season and went to West Virginia'', Heiser said.
''It's a cool story. He was an MLB All-Star, our first alum to make an All-Star team. This is what it's about for us, getting these guys here, getting them exposure. And, it's nice for our fans. We tell them when the come to the games to see some future Major Leaguers, and this is a guy who played in front of our fans and went on to make a All-Star Game, and now makes history by throwing a no-hitter.
''Once you're a DiamondDawg you're always a DiamondDawg,'' Heiser added.
The DiamondDawgs are a member of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, hosting college-level prospects and giving them an opportunity to continuing playing the NCAA off-season and continue to develop skills.
Among the other MLB-ers who spent some summer nights playing at Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls are James Hoyt - who won a World Series playing the Houston Astros and is currently with the Angels, Caleb Theilbar of the Minnesota Twins, and Tyler Rogers, a pitcher with the San Francisco Giants.
Another big-leaguer excelling with the Orioles who spent time in the PGCBL is Cedric Mullins, a former Utica Brewer (the team is today known as the Utica Blue Sox). Mullins recently belted two homers in the same game at Yankees Stadium, guiding Baltimore to a victory over their AL East rivals. In Wednesday's no-hitter by Means, Mullins was 1-for-4 with a run scored.
CHECK IT OUT: 100 sports records and the stories behind them
KEEP READING: Here are 50 of the most famous sports goofs