Saturday, July 28, 2012
On this day in 1976, John "Blue Moon" Odom and Francisco Barrios combined to throw a no-hitter over the Oakland Athletics in California.
Blue Moon started the game and threw five plus innings of no-hit ball. The biggest flaw in his day were nine walks, which helps the Athletics score one run. Odom started the bottom of the sixth with a walk to DH Billy Williams. Manager Paul Richards took out Blue Moon and put in relief pitcher Francisco Barrios. After Larry Lintz, pinch running for Billy Williams, stole second, Barrios walked Sal Bando. It looked like the thin 2-1 lead was in danger, but Francisco managed to get Gene Tenace to foul out to catcher Jim Essian and induced a double play that forced Bando out at second and caught batter Claudell Washington in a rundown, where he was eventually out a second base. That was the last obstacle for Barrios to overcome and when he got Ken McMullen to groundout to shortstop Bucky Dent, Francisco Barrios pitched four innings of relief to salvage a no-hitter.
After peaking in 1977, Barrios declined until he was released by the White Sox in 1981. Francisco devolved into personal grudges with umpires and teammates, even getting into a fistfight with Steve Trout. The low point of his career came when he was arrested on a narcotics charge in 1981. Barrios rebounded in the Mexican Pacific League and was ready to sign a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers when he died of a heart attack, due to a drug overdose.