Pinstriped glory, the greatest moments in Yankee history part two: Superchief’s Magical 1951.
One of the single greatest performances a pitcher can have is throwing a no-hitter. Aside from a perfect game a no-hitter the crown jewel for a pitcher. It’s something they will always be remembered for and something that connects them to this history of baseball forever. Throwing one in a season is incredible, throwing two is downright amazing, well that’s what Allie Reynolds was able to accomplish in the summer of 1951.
Allie Pierce Reynolds was born on February 10, 1917 in Bethany, Oklahoma. He was nicknamed “Superchief” a nod at his Native American heritage. Reynolds was a member of the Creek Nation. He made his major league debut in 1942 for the Cleveland Indians, ironically the league MVP in 1942 was Yankees’ second baseman Joe Gordon who would later go on to be traded for Reynolds. During his five years with Cleveland Reynolds excelled as both a starter and a reliever, in fact, it was his versatility that made him so valuable to the Indians and coveted by other teams. He had 41 complete games and 9 shutouts during his tenure with the Tribe.
In October of 1946 Cleveland and New York hooked up for what today we would call a blockbuster trade, the Yankees sent their star second baseman and former MVP Joe Gordon to Cleveland and in return the Yankees would acquire the young hard throwing Reynolds. It was a deal that paid dividends for both sides. Gordon would be a part of the Indians 1948 World Series title and Reynolds won five straight and six overall with the Yankees from1947 & 1949-1953.
Cleveland had long stated interest in Gordon and offered the Yankees any pitcher on their team with the exception of the brilliant Bob Feller. Ownership debated on a few players including Reynolds and Red Embree, in the end the deciding factor came via the Yankees superstar outfielder Joe DiMaggio. He was talking with Yanks executive Larry MacPahil and DiMaggio told him “Take Reynolds. I'm a fastball hitter, but he can buzz his hard one by me any time he has a mind to.” That was all the convincing the Yankees needed.
Reynolds soon became the ace of the Yankees staff joined by Vic Raschi “The Springfield Rifle” and veteran lefty Ed Lopat. 1951 became a memorable year for Reynolds as he went on to accomplish a feat that only five other in league history have accomplished. On July 12, 1951 Reynolds bested his former Indians teammate Bob Feller in a no-hitter against Cleveland. It was a sweet moment for Reynolds as he was able to showcase his skills against the team that dealt him. The Yankees won the game 1-0 on a Gene Woodling home run, obviously, that was all the offense the Superchief needed. He retired the final 17 batters of the game and recorded a strikeout for the final out of the game.
Reynolds second no-hitter of the year came on September 28th in a double header at Yankee Stadium versus the hated Red Sox. The Yankees would win the game by a score of 8-0 and the victory clinched the pennant for the Bombers. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth the only thing standing between Reynolds and a second no-hitter was Boston’s Ted Williams, one of the if not the best hitter in baseball. Reynolds got Williams to pop up. but catcher Yogi Berra dropped it. Never wanting to show up a teammate Reynolds brushed it off and told Yogi it was alright, Williams then popped up again a second time and this time Berra safely corralled it in his glove giving Reynolds his no-hitter. Still to this day Reynolds is the only Yankee to throw multiple no-hitters in a season.
Allie Reynolds passed away in 1994, but his memory lives on daily in Yankee Stadium. When the sun shines just enough into monument park, the light will flicker off his plaque, and in that time, we remember his championship pedigree and his spectacular two games in the summer of 1951
Article by: Fave Ruggiero