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|Johnny Vander Meer's profile skyrocketed after the back-to-back no-hitters.|
The no-hit jinx was already an established part of baseball lore, preventing the mention of the feat while it was in progress. Announcers knew about the jinx and generally participated, but not Red. He mentioned Bill Bevens and Don Larsen during their runs at no-hitters during the World Series. And, according to a profile in the Washington Star in 1981, Barber did it for the first time the night of June 15, 1938, as Vander Meer approached a second straight blanking. Barber could hardly do otherwise -- everyone was aware of history in the making. Vander Meer continued to struggle with his control, walking five and going deep in the count with just about everyone. His fielders may not have been thrilled with the slow pace, but they made no mistakes behind him. By the ninth, the game was out of reach, 6-0 Reds. But the 38,748 in attendance were riveted to their seats, having been drawn by illumination but now rooting for history. Vander Meer, true to the drama of the moment and his own wildness, walked the bases loaded with one out. That prompted a visit to the mound by Reds manager Bill McKechnie. The big crowd booed, fearing Vander Meer would be pulled. Today, with the tyranny of the pitch count hovering over managers, McKechnie might just have defied everyone and pulled his young ace.
|Here's a shot of Vander Meer under the lights at Ebbets Field during his second no-no.|