Guest Post – The Unbreakable Record by Robert Skead
One month after throwing back-to-back no hitters, Cincinnati Reds Johnny Vander Meer tossed three scoreless innings in the 1938 All Star game where he faced New York Yankee sluggers Joe DiMaggio and Bill Dickey. “He’s wicked,” said Joe DiMaggio about Vander Meer’s stuff. “Johnny will get better as he goes along. He throws with everything he’s got and that’s plenty… the ball was on me before I could swing.”
This year is the 80th anniversary of Vandy’s back-to-back no hitters, which The Cincinnati Post headlined as the “Greatest Feat in Game’s History.” It is one major league baseball record that will never be broken. The magic or “Vander Meeracle” occurred on June 11 and 15, 1938.
The story of the two no-hitters reads like a Hollywood screenplay: Handsome, rookie (23-year-old) pitcher from small town America achieves miraculous accomplishment during first-ever night game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. Babe Ruth himself attended. Mom and Dad and 500 fans from Vander Meer’s hometown (Midland Park, NJ) watch every pitch nervously. Even the opposing Brooklyn Dodger fans start to cheer Vander Meer on in the seventh inning realizing they are witnessing baseball history. And just before the end, Vander Meer loses control in the ninth and walks the bases loaded—but he manages to get out of the jam and the Vander Meeracle is etched into baseball immortality!
I lived in Midland Park for nine years, which is where I became enamored with this story and the man behind it. A gift from God, I became dear friends with Vandy’s boyhood best friend, Mr. Dick Jeffer, who before he died at age 96 asked me to do everything I could to keep the memory of his friend and the record alive.
To date, I’ve created the www.johnnyvandermeer.com website, included Vandy’s feat as a subplot in my book Hitting Glory, written an eBook about Vandy, created baseball cards for giveaways to local children, written articles and blogs about the Dutch Master, and designed T-shirts about Vandy as well (to name just a few things).
If you’d like to order a Johnny Vander Meer shirt (see image below), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are $20 each plus shipping and handling.
I also collect Vander Meer baseball cards. See https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/collect-keeping-johnny-vander-meer-memories-alive/
Vandy’s record is most likely unbreakable, but there is one thing I know—since God is a Yankees fan, only a Yankee will tie or break this record.
Robert Skead is the author of several sports and American Revolution books. Visit www.robertskead.com for more information or to book a speaking engagement. An avid Yankees fan, he sleeps in pinstripe bed sheets.