On This Day: KC Royals fall victim to Nolan Ryan's first no-hitter
By Jacob Milham
Sometimes, the KC Royals just have to chalk up the loss as the pitcher just had his day. Today in 1973, California Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan certainly had his day, pitching his first career no-hitter.
The KC Royals were once on the losing side of a historic game for Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
On May 15, 1973, the Angels beat the Royals 3-0 behind Ryan's no-hitter. The Royals did manage three baserunners off three walks, but not one advanced past second base. Ryan managed 12 strikeouts against the Royals, including three against first baseman John Mayberry and two against shortstop Freddie Patek.
The game featured a lot of history surrounding it. For California catcher Jeff Torborg, it was the third no-hitter he caught and the first since July 20, 19710. Torborg also caught Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax's perfect game on September 9, 1965, en route to Los Angeles' World Series championship that same year. This was also the first no-hitter in the brand-new Royals Stadium, in front of more than 12,00 Royals fans on a Tuesday night.
Ryan would go on to throw six more no-hitters and become the all-time leader in the rare performance. He had another no-hitter later in the 1973 season against the Detroit Tigers. That same season, Ryan set the MLB record for most strikeouts, with 383. Despite some dominant seasons, Ryan never pitched a perfect game or won a Cy Young Award.
Ryan faced off against the Royals a lot over his career and faced the club 46 times. In those appearances, Ryan was 24-15 with a 2.73 ERA. Those 24 wins are the most Ryan has against a singular franchise across his 27-year career. That career spanned so long, Ryan is one of 29 MLB players to appear in a game in four different decades.
The outcome was certainly not great for Royals fans in attendance, but they likely had no idea the history they were witnessing.