Someone could tie the record.” Vander Meer once said. “But I don’t think anyone will ever break it.”
Before he became a minor league ballplayer, Johnny Vander Meer played the role of “the typical American boy” in a 1933 movie short about a sandlot player getting his first major tryout. It was filmed in a studio in Miami where Johnny tried out for the Brooklyn Dodger franchise.
Vander Meer struck out 295 batters during a 12-week timeframe as a pitcher for the Durham Bulls (a Cincinnati Reds farm team)—an average of 12.33 per nine-inning game.
The Sporting News voted Johnny the No. 1 minor league player of the year in 1936.
Johnny Vander Meer had one base hit in each of his two consecutive no-hit games.
Johnny won 15 games in 1938, including 10 in a row. It was the best season he ever had.
Besides ‘Vandy,” Johnny’s nicknames were “Double No Hit” and “The Dutch Master.”
When asked if the two no hitters were his biggest thrill in baseball, Vander Meer offers a bit of a surprise. “I think my biggest thrill was having the right skills to get to be a big league ball player. When I finally got to Cincinnati after about five years, I got my own locker with my own name over the top if it, and my uniform, and I was in the big leagues, I realized a boy’s dream. If I had to pick an individual thrill, that was it.” (Baseball Digest, June 1985)
“Dad didn’t know much about baseball,” said Vandy. “And was probably the only person in the ballpark who didn’t know I’d set a record. He was wondering what all the fuss was about.” “Baseball is all right,” said Vandy’s father. … “ Johnny’s always been a good boy and I hope success won’t spoil him. This is the first big league game I ever saw, but not the first no-hit game I’ve seen my boy pitch.”
“I liked Johnny from the first look I got at him in the spring training camp. I told reporters then that we had the 1938 pitching sensation of the major leagues in Vander Meer. Why, he was knocking the bats right out of the Detroit Tigers’ hands in exhibition games.” Reds Manager Bill McKeechnie
“He’s wicked. 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.” Joe DiMaggio (after 1938 all star game)
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