Before George Borchers became the first Sacramento-area player to reach the major leagues, he pitched three minor league no-hitters.
Borchers was an outfielder-turned-pitcher with Altas, Sacramento's professional club that joined the California League in 1886. The West Sacramento right-hander was the first local pitcher to throw a no-hitter.
Overall, he threw the 33rd, 34th and 44th no-hitters in minor league history, all in the Cal League.
By May 1888, he was pitching for the Chicago White Stockings, but after 10 starts and a 4-4 record he returned to the Cal League.
Borchers' career followed a trajectory rivaled by few players, ancient or contemporary. He was described as unpredictable, insubordinate and just plain mean.
Arrested for refusing to play for Stockton after accepting a $100 advance, Borchers was banned from the Cal League for the 1889 season. Later that year, he burned down his mother's barn after they argued over money.
And Borchers was only getting started. In 1890, he arrived at a Stockton game wearing his uniform and sitting astride a horse. He reeked of booze but insisted he was fit to pitch. Days later, he was suspended for brawling at a Stockton restaurant. In a gesture of kindness, his teammates took up a collection to send him home to Sacramento. But instead, he took the money and went on a drinking binge.
Borchers is one of 24 area pitchers to throw a no-hitter in the minor leagues. Here's a look some of the others:
On June 25, 2007, Nashville Sounds left-hander Manny Parra (Casa Roble, American River) pitched a perfect game with 11 strikeouts against the Round Rock Express in only his second Triple-A start. The rare achievement was only the third nine-inning perfect game in Pacific Coast League history.
Rick Goulding (Encina), the Double-A San Antonio Dodgers 23-year-old right-hander, baffled the Amarillo Gold Sox with an assortment of breaking balls en route to a 5-0 no-hitter (July 4, 1979), narrowly missing a perfect game. The only runner to reach first base was the game's leadoff hitter on an error. Goulding retired the next 27 batters, threw 82 pitches and displayed a fastball clocked at 85 mph.
The late Bob Forsch (Johnson, Sacramento City) is the only area pitcher to throw no-hitters in both the minor and major leagues and he did it twice. The St. Louis Cardinals farmhand had a no-hitter for Double-A Arkansas in 1972 and one for Triple-A Tulsa in 1973. He then threw no-hitters against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978 and against the Montreal Expos in 1983.
Myril Hoag (Sacramento), who played the outfield on three World Series winners with the New York Yankees that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, tossed a no-hitter on Aug. 12, 1948, for the Triple-A Gainesville G-Men, two days before Hall of Famer Don Newcombe threw one for Montreal.
Richmond's Justin Fitzgerald (UC Davis) was named Pitcher of the Week in the Double-A Eastern League. Winless since May 13, the right-hander was 1-0 in two starts, pitched 14 innings, allowed two runs and struck out 10.
The Giants' second-round pick, Saint Mary's right-hander Martin Agosta (Jesuit), has signed a reported $612,500 contract and will report to the team's Scottsdale, Ariz., training site.
The Miami Marlins signed their 15th-round pick, UCLA outfielder Cody Keefer (Davis). He'll report to Jamestown of the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League. The Marlins released New Orleans catcher Steve Holm (McClatchy, American River).
The Seattle Mariners promoted catcher Toby DeMello (Roseville) from Pulaski (rookie league) to Class-A Clinton.
Oregon State right-hander Dan Child (Jesuit) will pitch for Team USA at the Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week tournament, which concludes July 22 in the Netherlands.
Grant football star struggles on diamond
The start of Shaq Thompson's minor league career may be the roughest ever in professional baseball. In 26 official at-bats through Friday for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, Boston's 18th-round draft pick has no hits and has struck out 25 times. He's played in nine games and struck out three times or more in seven of them. The only ball he has put in play was a groundout to first base. The former Grant football star is proving he may be better suited for hitting running backs for the University of Washington than baseballs in Florida.
Minor league no-hitters by Sacramento-area pitchers
|Date||Player||Resident/school||Team (innings)||Opponent||League (level)|
|10-10-1886||George Borchers||r-West Sacramento||Sacramento (N/A)||Oakland||California|
|8-21-1887||George Borchers||r-West Sacramento||Oakland (N/A)||Haverlys||California|
|10-10-1888||George Borchers||r-West Sacramento||Sacramento (N/A)||Oakland||California|
|11-18-1905||Bobby Keefe||r-Folsom||Tacoma (9)||Oakland||Pacific Coast (A)|
|9-11-1909||Bobby Keefe||r-Folsom||Montreal (9)||Buffalo||Eastern (A)|
|5-25-1912||Ray Keating||r-Sacramento||Lawrence (N/A)||Worcester||New England (B)|
|7-11-1916||Charlie Boardman||r-Sacramento||Fargo (9)||Duluth||Northern (N/A)|
|10-5-1929||Herm Pillette||r-Sacramento||Mission (9)||Seattle||Pacific Coast (AA)|
|5-5-1932||Tony Freitas||r-Sacramento||Sacramento (9)||Oakland||Pacific Coast (AA)|
|7-4-1937||Ernie Bonham||Ione||Oakland (7)||Seattle||Pacific Coast (AA)|
|7-19-1944||Manny Salvo||Sacramento||Oakland (9)||Sacramento||Pacific Coast (AA)|
|8-12-1948||Myril Hoag||Sacramento||Gainesville (9)||St. Augustine||Florida State (D)|
|5-23-1952||Johnny Briggs||Folsom||Idaho Falls (N/A)||Pocatello||Pioneer (C)|
|6-30-1967||Lowell Palmer||Norte Del Rio||Tidewater (9)||Kinston||Carolina (A)|
|8-28-1969||Mike Baldwin||Johnson, Sac City||Lynchburg (N/A)||Red Springs||Carolina (A)|
|7-8-1971||Fernando Arroyo||Burbank||Lakeland (7)||West Palm Beach||Florida State (A)|
|5-13-1972||Bob Forsch||Johnson||Arkansas (7)||Memphis||Texas (AA)|
|5-25-1973||Bob Forsch||Johnson||Tulsa (N/A)||Denver||American (AAA)|
|7-11-1976||Barry Biggerstaff||UC Davis||Grays Harbor (9)||Bellingham||Northwest (A)|
|9-1-1977||Larry Prewitt||Placer||Jackson (N/A)||Tulsa||Texas (AA)|
|7-4-1979||Rick Goulding||Encina||San Antonio (9)||Amarillo||Texas (AA)|
|8-2-1986||Zach Crouch||Cordova||Winter Haven (N/A)||Miami||Florida State (A)|
|8-22-1989||Clyde Keller||Del Campo, Sac City||Savannah (N/A)||Augusta||South Atlantic (A)|
|6-27-1997||Darrell May||Sac City||Vancouver (7)||Salt Lake||Pacific Coast (AAA)|
|8-24-1997||Aaron Cames||Woodland||Kane County (9)||Peoria||Midwest (A)|
|6-25-2007||Manny Parra||Casa Roble, ARC||Nashville (9)||Round Rock||Pacific Coast (AAA)|
|8-27-2007||Andrew Carpenter||Cosumnes River||Clearwater (7)||Sarasota||Florida State (A)|
|7-26-2009||Preston Vancil||West Campus||Florence (9)||Traverse City||Frontier (Ind)|