Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. 1996. The year 1996 doesn’t register on most Marlins fans radar. The Marlins won their first Silver Slugger this year, a Golden Glove, and Gary Sheffield knocked 42 home runs that season which is still a record to this day. Even with all that, 1996 has one more impressive feat. Moment 21 happened on May 11, 1996: it was no hitter number 240 and the first no hitter in Marlins history. All Thanks to Al Leiter.
May 11, 1996 was a typical Miami night, 31,000 plus Marlins fans piled into Joe Robbie Stadium for a battle between the Florida Marlins and the Colorado Rockies. I don’t think any fan at that game thought they were going to see something no Marlin fan had ever seen their team do before. It was a very easy 1st inning for Leiter, going 1-2-3 against the top of the order of the Rockies. The offense came alive for the Marlins in the bottom putting up 6 runs. In the 2nd inning Leiter lost the perfect game by walking the first batter with four straight balls. He would then hit the next batter, but would end the inning with a strike out and a double play. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th inning Leiter would sit down all nine batters in order. He had a no hitter going into the 6th inning.
The 6th inning was a little rough for Leiter. The first batter he faced he had a full count before he struck him out swinging on the 7th pitch. The next batter may have only taken 6 pitches but Leiter got him out on a grounder. The last batter of the inning was also a tough one, getting a full count before he would pop up pitch number 7 to the short stop. The 7th inning was better; Leiter only used 16 pitches. 2 of the batters got full count, but he still no hits as they went down 1-2-3. The 8th inning was quiet possibly Leiter’s best inning as all 3 batters went down on the first pitch. Leiter started the 9th the same way he ended the last inning sitting down the first two batters with one pitch. Out number 27, however, would be difficult for Leiter. After getting a full count on 5 pitches, the 6th pitch would be fouled off. In came the 7th pitch and what a pitch it was as the batter swung and missed to complete the first no hitter in Florida Marlins history. Way to go Leiter!
Moment 21, 22, and 23 all have something else in common besides being Marlins no hitters. All 3 of those no hitters were caught by Charles Johnson. A lot of people give credit to the pitchers in a no hitter, but you can’t forget about the man behind the plate who calls the game. Charles is tied for 2nd for most no hitters caught in Major League history, and he did it all as a Marlins. So, thank you Charles. Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another rare feat in baseball, and a Miami Marlins first.