The KC Royals have a long history in Kansas City, but not as storied as others. Not all teams can win championships, but Kansas City is far from a baseball powerhouse. There are moments that escape fans' memories, whether that be due to time passing or more bad memories than good ones. One good moment came on June 19, 1974, when Royals pitcher Steve Busby threw his second career no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers.
KC Royals Hall of Famer Steve Busby made history at the Brewers' expense.
Busby remains the only pitcher to throw no-hitters in each of his first two full major-league seasons. He accomplished the feat one walk shy of a perfect game, facing just 28 Brewers batters when the Royals defeated Milwaukee 2-0. After the game, Busby made the milestone sound like just another day at the office.
“I was much more aware of what was going on this time," Busby said. "I wasn’t nervous as much as I was fighting myself to keep my concentration. When I lose my concentration, I pipe the ball, throw it down the middle, and give up maybe four or five hits in a row, or else walk everybody. For about the last three innings, I really had to fight myself to keep my head in the game. But this was the biggest thrill of all—bigger than last time because this was my type of game.”
Busby credited the veteran Cookie Rojas with keeping the no-hitter going in the bottom of the eighth. Brewers designated hitter Bob Hansen had a hard-hit ball between Rojas and first base , but Rojas made a diving stop and threw Hansen out at first to preserve the no-hitter.
“It was the play of the game,” Busby said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him go so far that way or dive for a ball quite like that, even for Cookie.”
Busby's .565 win percentage over his eight-year career remains the eighth-best in Royals history. Busby spent all eight years in Kansas City. winning 70 games and posting a career 3.72 ERA. He was also named an All-Star in 1974 and 1975. Unfortunately, Busby never pitched for the Royals in the postseason, despite the team making the postseason in each of his last three seasons.
Busby's final three seasons in Kansas City really soured his lasting legacy with the franchise. He only made a combined 23 starts in those three seasons due to injuries, and his effectiveness on the mound had greatly diminished. But, there is no diminishing his prowess on the mound nearly 50 years ago on June 19.