2004: A SUMMER OF NO-HITTERS to REMEMBER

Written by Steve Cutler

No-hitters happen, there were 26 prior to June 9, 2004, but not many are thrown by 2 pitchers on the same team, less than a month apart. The summer of 2004 was remarkable for the Hollywood Werewolves as Kip Wells and Brad Penny each threw no-hitters, 24 days a part.

On June 9th, Wells took the mound admittedly on LSD, influenced by Doc Ellis, and pitched the game of his life. Wells was quoted after the game stating, “I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the Todd’s) Pratt) glove. I remember brushing a couple of batters back and walking a couple. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw Todd, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.” While Wells finished the season winning 20 games, he was second in the Cy Young to fellow teammate Hideo Nomo (21-5 2.87). The Commissioner’s office launched an investigation immediately after the report of LSD came out and drug testing was instituted for the beginning of the 2005 season. With that being the case, Well’s career took a dip, as he was never the same pitcher.

On July 3rd, Penny took the mound with his sub-par record and pitched his best game of the year. It was a game in which Penny pitched to only 27 batters, so why wasn’t it a perfect game? He hit Rondell White with 1-out in the 2nd, then induced Joe Randa into a double play. While it seemed meaningless at the time, it proved to be important. Penny was in awe as the final out was recorded. He was quoted as saying, “It was kind of hard to concentrate after I got that first guy,” Penny said. “The crowd was just unbelievable; I mean it was just absolutely unbelievable. I never expected that in a visiting ballpark.” Penny was pitching on eight days’ rest. “This was last thing that I ever expected. I’m not going to throw the ball 95 miles an hour. I have to hit my spots.” Penny’s career after that day has been average.

In the summer of 2004, 2 teammates helped propel their team to their first division crown with a couple of no-hitters. Wells (20-3 2.87) and Penny (10-13 4.27) helped propel Hollywood to their first World Series appearance, only to lose to the perennial champions, Tempe Tempers. Teammates have thrown no-hitters in the same season; however it’s very uncommon for them to do it so close together. Neither Wells nor Penny have seen much success since, which is why the no-hit summer of 2004 was a summer to remember.

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