Near no-no

Though Dave Stieb became famous — and rightfully so — for his trio of near misses at recording his first no-hitter, he wasn’t the first to endure such heartbreak — just ask Jim Clancy.

Clancy, an original Blue Jay who was selected from the Texas Rangers in the expansion draft in 1976, became the first Toronto pitcher to flirt with a no-hitter, doing so on September 28, 1982. In his second-to-last start of the season, Clancy took a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a doubleheader at Exhibition Stadium.

Jim_clancy_autographBefore Randy Bush stepped to the plate to lead off the ninth, Clancy had retired each of the previous 24 batters in order, including Tom Brunansky, Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti three times apiece. However, Bush would end the streak by stroking a single to right field to become Minnesota’s first baserunner on the day. Fittingly, Clancy then induced Ron Washington to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play, leaving him just one out away from a complete-game shutout. Despite walking pinch-hitter Randy Johnson (no, not THE Randy Johnson), Clancy got Bobby Mitchell to ground into a force-out to end the game.

Clancy’s counterpart, Frank Viola, managed to record a complete game as well during the Blue Jays’ 3-0 win that day. Remarkably, it took just 1:33 to put Game 1 of the doubleheader in the books, a mark that still stands as the shortest nine-inning home game in Jays’ franchise history.

Unfortunately for Clancy, that would be the closest he would come to recording a no-hitter. Dave Stieb on the other hand …

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