Cubs History: Ken Holtzman goes back-to-back
Over the next near-decade of Cubs baseball, there would not be another no-hitter thrown. In 1969, the first of what would be two no-hitters for Ken Holtzman, the Cubs took on the vaunted Atlanta Braves. On a mid-August afternoon at Wrigley in front of nearly 38,000 fans, Holtzman dominated a lineup that included Hank Aaron, Felipe Alou, and Orlando Cepeda.
The Cubs faced Phil Niekro, who was in the prime of his career and would finish second that year in the National League Cy Young voting. Third baseman Ron Santo was the sole proprietor of the Cubs offense that day, hitting a three-run home run off the future Hall of Fame starter for the game’s only offense. It was also only the second time in major league history a starting pitcher finished off a no-hitter with zero strikeouts.
Two years later, in 1971, Holtzman did it again, this time on the road in Cincinnati. This time Holtzman struck out six batters, walking four. Holtzman reached base on an error in another strange twist of fate and scored the only run of the game. The Reds lineup consisted of Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and George Foster, making up the “Big Red Machine.” Holtzman became the first pitcher in the “modern era” to complete two no-hitters.