Jim Maloney and Johnny Edwards happened to be in town for festivities at the Reds' Hall of Fame and are speaking at a brunch on Sunday.
Maloney and Edwards were involved in two (one official) no-hitters as battery mates in 1965. Edwards as a member of the Houston Astros came closest to breaking up Maloney's second official no-hitter in 1969.
With ironic timing, Maloney arrived in Cincinnati on Monday night and watched Homer Bailey pitch his second career no-hitter on Tuesday night.
Maloney, who is uniquely qualified as a no-hitter expert, saw after four innings that Bailey had a chance.
"I was visiting friends from Amberly. After four innings I said to my wife, 'this guy's got overpowering stuff tonight. I didn't know if he was going to pitch a no-hitter or but you could see those hitters couldn't function against him at all," Maloney said.
Maloney, who threw close to 100 miles an hour, sees great things ahead for Bailey.
"He's got a good arm," Maloney said. "He's capable of throwing a no-hitter every time he goes out there. I hope he keeps going and wins some ballgames to get to the pennant."
When Dusty Baker took over as Reds' manager in 2008, Maloney was invited to Reds' spring training. The 73-year old Fresno native and resident spent a lot of time with Bailey that spring.
"Dusty said I want you to go out and talk to this kid. His name is Homer Bailey," Maloney said. "We sat in the bullpen down the rightfield line in Sarasota. I sat there and talked to him about how I prepared for a game and how I liked to pitch. He sat there and listened. I did what I was told to do."
Maloney pitched 10 hitless innings against the New York Mets on June 14, 1965 at Crosley Field. Mets' rightfielder Johnny Lewis opened the 11th inning with a home run. Roy McMillan singled later and Maloney was on the wrong end of a 1-0 game. It was considered a no-hitter for a long time but no-hitters were re-defined later.
Later that summer on August 19, Maloney pitched 10 hitless innings against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. This time Reds' shortstop Leo Cardenas hit a home run in the 10th and Maloney closed it out but not without a lot of effort.
"He threw 186 pitches that day and was wilder than a church mouse," Edwards recalled. "He walked 11 (actually 10)," Edwards said.
"I hit two batters too," Maloney chimed in.
"Every time I looked up, there was a man on third," Edwards said. "He'd walk two and someone hit into a force play. All I could think about was this guy's going to throw a wild pitch and I'm not going to be able to block; we're going to lose the damn game."
Maloney recalls how he used to beat Edwards up with short curveballs.
'You know I roomed with him for six or seven years. I used to snap off a lot of 56' curve balls and bounce them off of him all the time," Maloney said. "He never ever said, 'come on get the ball up. You're killing me back here.' That's why he was a great catcher."
After Cardenas homered in the top of the 10th, Maloney had to get past Doug Clemens, then Billy Williams and the great Ernie Banks to complete to game.
Maloney's 10th walk of the game went to Clemens, leading off. Billy Williams flied out to left. Banks hit a sharp ground ball to Cardenas, who threw to Pete Rose. Rose relayed the throw to Marty Keough to end the 1-0 game.
"When he got it, I ran to the mound," Edwards said. "One of my favorite pictures is me jumping on him. I don't know how I had the strength. I was so tired. I went to the clubhouse and fell asleep, I think."
Edwards played high school baseball for West High in Columbus. He was the state's second team all-state catcher behind Jack Nicklaus.
"Nicklaus was a great catcher," Edwards said. "He was all-state catcher his sophomore year. I was a year older but he won the Ohio Open and his dad made him quit baseball, so I could become all-state my senior year."
Edwards went on to play baseball at Ohio State. Nicklaus played golf on a team with Tom Weiskopf. Edwards was on the baseball team with Frank Howard, John Havlicek (later Boston Celtic player), Galen Cisco, who played quarterback on the football team, then pitched in the major leagues. The father of Fox Sports Ohio personality, Jeff Piecoro, John Piecaro was Edwards' backup at catcher.
Edwards left the Reds after the 1967 season but was involved in Maloney's last no-hitter on April 30, 1969 at Crosley Field
Maloney faced a Houston lineup that included Joe Morgan, Cincinnati native Jimmy Wynn, Denis Menke, Edwards and future Red Cesar Geronimo, who pinch hit.
Johnny Bench caught the third (2nd official) no-hitter.
Edwards nearly broke it up.
"He almost got a hit off me," Maloney said. "He hit a line drive that (Darrell) Chaney laid out for. That was the only one that was supposed to be a hit."
"Jim was good that game," Edwards said. "He didn't throw many pitches."
Maloney was asked which of the three was his best.
"The one I got beat was the best really, if you want to know the truth," Maloney said. "That first one in '65, I had 18 strikeouts I think but they hit a home run off me in the 11th inning."
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
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