Notty notches no-no
May 17, 1963

Don Nottebart is congratulated by his teammates on his no-hitter
(c) Houston Astros

Audio   Photos   Box Score and Play by Play

Don Nottebart Hurls First Colt No-Hitter
by Olen Clements, Houston Chronicle

A huff and puff man of great New England chest, Don Nottebart, blew down the Philadelphia Phils Friday night in Houston's first major league no-hitter.

He did it with his little slider, a great slip pitch, heart and the help of a stout hearted team determined that he would have one of baseball's great classic victories.

The score was Houston 4, Philadelphia 1.

The story is not that simple. It was the third no-hitter in the majors this year, one other in the National and Americal Leagues.

It was a sweet victory for Houston.

It was sweeter than that for Nottebart for owner R.E. (Bob) Smith awarded him a $1000 bonus for his great job.

Nottebart: Imperfect gem.
(c) Houston Astros

"It is unbelievable," stammered Nottebart after the game, "a great thrill, the greatest."

His wife Jo Ann, of Lexington, Mass. was at the game. She seldom goes. Maybe she broke the Philadelphia jinx, if ever a jinx existed.

Funny thing, that great pitching job still would not have gotten Houston out of the National League cellar Friday night had not Joey Amalfitano hit a home run in San Francisco to beat the New York Mets.

Houston now is in ninth place in the National League.

Amalfitano was with Houston last year and did not hit too good.

But there is no way to say it except that Nottebart, an upcoming 27-year-old pitcher of the majors, had his night before 8223 fans Friday night.

It was his greatest hour, or to be precise, two hours and 12 minutes.

There was a feeling in the air that he was destined to pitching greatness when he went to the mound.

This gave him a 5-1 record this year.

Strangely, his battery mate, John Bateman, did not realize until he looked at the scoreboard in the ninth, what happened.

"I looked up there and shuddered," said John, "a no-hitter in the major leagues and I'm catching."

John is 20 and new in the majors.

Mauch Needled Him
Do not let anyone say that Nottebart or his teammates did not know that he had a no-hitter going. At the beginning of every inning Gene Mauch, manager of the Phils, called to him in a raucous voice.

"You'll never make it." Gene likes to win, too.

Thanks to McMahon
Don McMahon, a Brooklynite, also once of the Braves, strongly recommended Nottebart to Houston. McMahon made his name in Houston last year as a relief pitcher. He had a little arm trouble this spring, but he will be heard from, from here on out.

"He's got great potential," said McMahon, "a great arm. He may beat me out of my job but he deserves it."

And Nottebart has.

A 5-1 record at this time of season with a team that has one .300 hitter, Johnny Temple, is phenomenal. Houston was in last place, then.

His feat of Friday night showed one thing. You can take a bunch of .200 hitters and beat a bunch of .300 hitters, including the league-leading batsman, Wes Covington, hitting .360 before his last batting appearance, and beat them, if you have good pitching. Nottebart saw to that.

Warwick Homers
The Colt .45s jumped off to a lead in the first inning. Carl Warwick, inserted in the lineup when Pete Runnels and Bob Aspromonte came upon bad hitting days, belted a clean home into the right field seats in the first. He got four for four for the night, a homer, a triple and two singles.

That lead stood until the fifth when Don Demeter hit a grounder right through the legs of shortstop J.C. Hartman.

The ball went outto the outfield and both Al Spangler in left and Howie Goss in center must have been asleep or something. Neither played his position right and Demeter, being a good ball player and base runner, sped on to second.

Hartman Errs
Poor old Hartman got an error out of it and well he should.

Clay Dalrymple sacrificed Demeter to third, pitcher to first. Don Hoak, who wants to become a manager, hit a short fly to Goss just behind second base.

Howie Goss has a good arm but he did not use it. His throw to Bateman at the plate was off, the ball hit behind the mound and bounced off home base, way off. Demeter scored easily.

That bad play by goss, who hit a three-run homer to cinch the game in the sixth, kept Nottebart from getting a shutout.

Bruce vs. Green
There will be some practice Saturday before the 1:30 p.m. game which Bob Bruce (2-3) will pitch against Dallas Green.

Jack Hamilton, the loser, has been living off the Colts with five wins off them last year and two this year.

It will be family day at the park Saturday. Bruce is especially interested. He is on tinterhooks, his wife is expecting their second child momentarily in Detroit.

Houston's big inning came in the sixth. Temple slugged one to right, Al Spangler tried to sacrifice him to second but forced him out, instead.

Warwick, a hitting demon Friday night, busted one to left for a single.

Pete Runnels, who played in his fifth no-hitter Friday night, two that the Boston Red Sox won, two that they lost, and Nottebart's, forced Warwick at second. Spangler went to third on the play.

Goss Belts One
Goss, a food fadist -- honey, papaguya juice and all that jazz -- belted one over the left field wall into the bleacher seats for three runs. It gave him the team RBI leadership with 16 and a tie with Bateman for home run leadership of the club, at four each.

Goss: Three-run poke.
(c) Houston Astros

Nothing much happened after that except that each time Nottebart walked to the mound he heard that cry from Mauch on the Philadelphia bench, a croak something like that of Raven in Edgar Poe: "You'll never make it."

Well, he did.

Up Came Ninth
Up came the ninth and two of the three best hitters in the league. John Callison was first. He was hitting .227 at the time but far more capable. The first two pitches were balls. Then a strike. The crowd hung on every pitch. Pow! Callison hit it high and far.

Dependable Goss gathered it in like a washerwoman gathering clothes off the line.

Tony Gonzalez, a mena man on the bases, and a mean .297 hitter, was next.

Gonzalez took one ball and one strike. Then he smote.

The ball sailed into the welcome hands of left-fielder Spangler.

The crowd was tense. The fielders were tense. Everybody was tense. There came that cry from the Phils bench.

"You'll never make it." Nottebart paid no heed.

Big Covington, just the National League's leading batter, was up. His average, .360, was on the board for all to see. He had not had a hit all night.

Nottebart, who once was Covington's teammate at Milwaukee, remembered the advice Runnels gave him at the start of the game. That was do not give these fast ball hitters anything they can hit.

Was Deliberate
Nottebart was deliberate. He threw the slipper, taught him by Paul Richards, Colt general manager.

It was a strike. He used it 20 or more times in the game. He had the Phils jumping back from strikes right over the plate.

Covington made the jump back this time. He took no more.

Covington caught a slider on the inside and it went sailing to left.

Spangler made it look easy and came racing in to congratulate Nottebart. Spangler, too, used to be on the Milwaukee Braves.

The whole team mobbed Nottebart. The Phils slunk to their clubhouse.

Nottebart's one-run no-hitter was the first of its kind since July 1, 1951, when Bob Feller beat Detroit, 201, in the first game of a double-header. It was the third such game since the 1920s in the major leagues.

Al Couldn't Wait on Ball
Philadelphia's Wes Covington hit a fly ball to left fielder Al Spangler to end Friday night's game and give Houston Colt pitcher Don Nottebart a no-hitter.

The Houston bull pen pitchers, located on the left field foul line, were all yelling, "You got plenty of room, you got plenty of room!"

Pitcher Jim Umbricht recalled, "Al was yelling, 'I got it, I got it, I got it' -- he must have yelled it 15 times before the ball got down. And he couldn't wait for the ball; he jumped up in the air and both feet were off the ground when he caught it."

Colt Brass Never Lost Faith in Righthander
by John Wilson, Houston Chronicle

"It's unbelievable," Don Nottebart kept saying in the clubhouse Friday night. He had just pitched a no-hitter, beating the Houston Colts' nemesis, the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-1.

He was a happy, happy man. "Do you believe it?" he asked a friend.

"You are some kind of a something," said pitching coach Cot Deal coming up for his dozenth handshake.

Had Faith in Him
Deal and manager Harry Craft and general manager Paul Richards have had faith in this 27-year-old right-hander since they got him in a trade from Milwaukee before the season.

The Colts gave up first baseman Norm Larker and money for Nottebart, Connie Grob and Jim Bolger. Grob is at Oklahoma City and Bolger dropped out of baseball.

"This is the first time I have pitched nine innings since I beat Cincinnati, 3-1, in 1961," Nottebart said, "Jim Ewell (Colt trainer) and Cot have been telling me that it would take time for my muscles to get strong enough to pitch a complete game."

Reliever for Braves
Nottebart was used strictly in relief for most of the 1961 season and all of the 1962 season at Milwaukee.

"I was only 26 but Milwaukee was going on a youth movement and I wasn't getting to pitch last year," Nottebart said. "Once last year when we were playing Houston I told Don McMahon (also formerly of Milwaukee) that I wasn't getting to pitch and why didn't he tell Paul Richards to get me on the Houston club. He told them and in the winter I heard the trade was made."

Whether that conversation really was what sparked the trade or not, it has been a big thing in Nottebart's career. He has a 5-1 record now, best on the staff. Before Friday night he usually had gone seven or eight innings and tired.

Nine Pitches in Ninth
"But you could have gone a couple of more innings tonight," Deal told him. "You threw only nine pitches in the ninth inning and was just as strong as in the first inning."

He threw 109 pitches Friday -- 69 strikes and 40 balls.

What has come over this fellow, 10 years in organized baseball at the relatively youthful age of 27?

"He's just getting a chance to pitch is all," says Harry Craft.

Nottebart first realized he hadn't given up a hit when he went out for the fourth inning. "I looked up at the scoreboard and saw that zero and said to myself 'this is a joke'," Nottebart recalled.

Gave It Serious Thought
In the seventh inning he started thinking seriously of the possibility of pitching a no-hitter.

When he went out for the ninth inning the pressure was really on. "I couldn't believe it," Nottebart laughed. "I said to myself, 'Notty, what are you doing?'"

Although he faced the heavy end of the Philly batting order, he knew the hitters -- Callison and Gonzales and Covington -- better than anyone else in the lineup.

"I really didn't think I would do it," he admitted. "But I knew if I didn't, it would be my own mistakes -- all of those fellows like them high and away. I threw them nothing but low sliders."

Threw Mostly Sliders
Nottebart threw mostly sliders all night; mixing them with his sinking fast ball and the palm ball he learned from Paul Richards this year.

"I didn't throw a curve all night," he revealed.

"I could hear Gene Mauch (Philly manager) yelling from the dugout 'You'll never made it Nottebart, you'll never make it' and that seemed to give me an extra push," Nottebart said.

Catcher John Bateman didn't realize it was a no-hitter until he looked up at the scoreboard as he stepped behind the plate for the ninth inning.

Bateman Got Nervous
"He had been so cool all night," Nottebart marvelled. "And I could see in the ninth that he suddenly got real nervous; he kept giving me the sign and then shaking his head and giving it over."

But the other players knew it. "The dugout was so quiet; nobody was saying anything," Nottebart said. "They gave me 150 per cent tonight!"

There was one sad man in the Colt locker room, shortstop J.C. Hartman, who let Don Demeter's grounder go through him for a two-base error that led to the Phillies' lone run.

"He had his head down when I came in the clubhouse," Nottebart said. "I didn't give him a chance to say anything but patted him on the back and said, 'forget it, man, we won the game.' Those things happen to everybody."

"A Sad Guy"
Equipment man Whitey Diskin agreed. "He was a sad guy, he kept saying 'Whitey, why did I do it?"

Nottebart's wife, Jo Ann, was at the park Friday night. It was the second game she had seen because she doesn't like to see her husband pitch.

"She saw the game against Chicago here and it made her so nervous it took about three days to get over it," Nottebart said. Don was relieved in that one in a late inning and Jim Umbricht got the win in the 10th inning.

The Nottebarts have four children: Ronnie 6, Bobby 4, Danny 3, and Donna 1. That is too young to savor a no-hitter.

But for a 27-year-old fellow who has been battling 10 years in a tough racket, it was a big night.

As the fellow himself said, "Just think about old Notty pitching a no-hitter."

A First For Craft, too
Don Nottebart's no-hit victory Friday night was the first in the majors Harry Craft ever managed.

However, he played in three no-hitters whenhe was an outfielder in the majors: Two pitched by Johnny Van de Meer, in one of which he caught the last out, and one by Tex Carleton, who once pitched for the old Houston Buffs.

From The AstrosDaily Media Library

Listen to the last out. (Elston, Astros netwk)


The Colt Stadium scoreboard
tells the 7th-inning story

Nottebart was the post-game
center of attention

Box Score and Play by Play
 Game of 5/17/1963 -- Philadelphia at Houston 
 Courtesy of Retrosheet

  Philadelphia       AB  R  H RBI    Houston            AB  R  H RBI  
Taylor T, 2b          3  0  0  0   Temple J, 3b          4  0  1  0   
Callison J, rf        4  0  0  0   Aspromonte B, 3b      0  0  0  0   
Gonzalez T, cf        4  0  0  0   Spangler A, lf        4  1  0  0   
Covington W, lf       4  0  0  0   Warwick C, rf         4  1  4  1   
Demeter D, 1b-3b      3  1  0  0   Staub R, 1b           2  0  1  0   
Dalrymple C, c        1  0  0  0   Runnels P, pr-1b      1  1  0  0   
Hoak D, 3b            1  0  0  1   Goss H, cf            4  1  1  3   
Sievers R, ph-1b      1  0  0  0   Bateman J, c          3  0  0  0   
Wine B, ss            2  0  0  0   Lillis B, 2b          3  0  0  0   
Hamilton J, p         2  0  0  0   Hartman J, ss         3  0  0  0   
Klaus B, ph           1  0  0  0   Nottebart D, p        3  0  0  0   
Duren R, p            0  0  0  0   
                     -- -- -- --                        -- -- -- --
                     26  1  0  1                        31  4  7  4   

Philadelphia     000 010 000 --  1
Houston          100 003 00x --  4

  Philadelphia         IP  H  R ER BB SO
Hamilton J (L)        7.0  6  4  4  0  5
Duren R               1.0  1  0  0  1  2

  Houston              IP  H  R ER BB SO
Nottebart D (W)       9.0  0  1  0  3  8

Game winning RBI -- none
E -- Hartman J
LOB -- Philadelphia 3, Houston 4
3B -- Warwick C
HR -- Warwick C, Goss H
SH -- Dalrymple C
SF -- Hoak D
T -- 2:12
A -- 8223

Play by Play

Game of Friday, 5/17/1963 -- Philadelphia Phillies at Houston Colt .45s

Starting Lineups:

   Philadelphia                  Houston                       
1. 2b Tony Taylor                3b Johnny Temple                    
2. rf Johnny Callison            lf Al Spangler                  
3. cf Tony Gonzalez              rf Carl Warwick                   
4. lf Wes Covington              1b Rusty Staub                     
5. 1b Don Demeter                cf Howie Goss                      
6.  c Clay Dalrymple              c John Bateman                    
7. 3b Don Hoak                   2b Bob Lillis                   
8. ss Bobby Wine                 ss J.C. Hartman                 
9.  p Jack Hamilton               p Don Nottebart                 

PHILLIES 1ST: T.Taylor grounded out (B.Lillis-2b to R.Staub-1b);
J.Callison flied to H.Goss-cf; T.Gonzalez struck out; 0 R, 0 H,
0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 0, Colts 0.

COLTS 1ST: J.Temple struck out; A.Spangler flied to
T.Gonzalez-cf; C.Warwick homered to leftfield (it was the 1-2
pitch); R.Staub struck out; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 0,
Colts 1.

PHILLIES 2ND: W.Covington grounded out (J.Temple-3b to
R.Staub-1b); D.Demeter struck out; C.Dalrymple flied to
C.Warwick-rf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 0, Colts 1.

COLTS 2ND: H.Goss popped to B.Wine-ss; J.Bateman grounded out
(B.Wine-ss to D.Demeter-1b); B.Lillis grounded out (J.Hamilton-p
to D.Demeter-1b); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 0, Colts 1.

PHILLIES 3RD: D.Hoak was called out on strikes; B.Wine walked;
J.Hamilton struck out; T.Taylor popped to R.Staub-1b in foul
territory; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Phillies 0, Colts 1.

COLTS 3RD: J.Hartman grounded out (B.Wine-ss to D.Demeter-1b);
D.Nottebart was called out on strikes; J.Temple lined to
T.Gonzalez-cf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 0, Colts 1.

PHILLIES 4TH: J.Callison was called out on strikes; T.Gonzalez
grounded out (J.Hartman-ss to R.Staub-1b); W.Covington flied to
H.Goss-cf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 0, Colts 1.

COLTS 4TH: A.Spangler grounded out (D.Demeter-1b to
J.Hamilton-p); C.Warwick singled to left field (it was the 1-2
pitch); R.Staub singled to right field (it was the 0-1 pitch)
[C.Warwick to second]; P.RUNNELS RAN FOR R.STAUB; H.Goss struck
out; J.Bateman flied to T.Gonzalez-cf; 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. 
Phillies 0, Colts 1.

reached on an error by J.Hartman-ss (it was the first pitch)
[D.Demeter to second]; C.Dalrymple out on a sacrifice bunt
(D.Nottebart-p to P.Runnels-1b) [D.Demeter to third]; D.Hoak out
on a sacrifice fly to H.Goss-cf [D.Demeter scored (unearned)];
B.Wine grounded out (J.Hartman-ss to P.Runnels-1b); 1 R (0 ER),
0 H, 1 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 1.

COLTS 5TH: B.Lillis grounded out (T.Taylor-2b to D.Demeter-1b);
J.Hartman flied to J.Callison-rf; D.Nottebart struck out; 0 R, 0
H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 1.

PHILLIES 6TH: J.Hamilton struck out; T.Taylor walked;
J.Callison popped to J.Hartman-ss; T.Gonzalez lined to
A.Spangler-lf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 1.

COLTS 6TH: J.Temple singled to right field (it was the 2-1
pitch); On a bunt A.Spangler forced J.Temple (D.Demeter-1b to
B.Wine-ss) [A.Spangler to first]; C.Warwick singled to left
field (it was the 2-2 pitch) [A.Spangler to second]; P.Runnels
forced C.Warwick (B.Wine-ss to T.Taylor-2b) [A.Spangler to
third, P.Runnels to first]; H.Goss homered to leftfield (it was
the first pitch) [A.Spangler scored, P.Runnels scored];
J.Bateman grounded out (B.Wine-ss to D.Demeter-1b); 3 R, 3 H, 0
E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 4.

PHILLIES 7TH: W.Covington struck out; D.Demeter flied to
H.Goss-cf; C.Dalrymple walked; R.SIEVERS BATTED FOR D.HOAK;
R.Sievers flied to H.Goss-cf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Phillies 1,
Colts 4.

CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING 3B); B.Lillis grounded out
(D.Demeter-3b to R.Sievers-1b); J.Hartman grounded out
(D.Demeter-3b to R.Sievers-1b); D.Nottebart flied to
J.Callison-rf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 4.

PHILLIES 8TH: B.Wine grounded out (J.Temple-3b to
P.Runnels-1b); B.KLAUS BATTED FOR J.HAMILTON; B.Klaus grounded
out (P.Runnels-1b unassisted); T.Taylor struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0
E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 4.

out; A.Spangler struck out; C.Warwick tripled to center field
(it was the 1-2 pitch); P.Runnels walked; H.Goss flied to
T.Gonzalez-cf; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 4.

J.Callison flied to H.Goss-cf; T.Gonzalez flied to
A.Spangler-lf; W.Covington flied to A.Spangler-lf; 0 R, 0 H, 0
E, 0 LOB.  Phillies 1, Colts 4.

Final Totals      R   H   E  LOB
 Phillies         1   0   0   3
 Colts            4   7   1   4