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30th anniversary of Fernando Valenzuela’s no-hitter

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A trip down memory lane

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There have been 23 no-hitters in the history of the Dodgers franchise. On this date in 1990, the 17th no-hitter was thrown by Fernando Valenzuela.

On the night, Valenzuela threw nine hitless and scoreless innings. He struck out seven and walked three. He threw 119 pitches and faced 30 hitters.

Here are some excerpts from an LA Times article following his no-hitter:

A no-hitter by Valenzuela seemed a remote possibility, at least on paper. He had won only once in his last six starts. He had not beaten the Cardinals since May 6, 1988, in St. Louis. He was averaging 9.2 hits against him per nine innings. He had only thrown two complete games this season, including his first shutout since 1987 when he beat the Chicago Cubs, 5-0, April 27. He had never had a no-hitter or a one-hitter in his 10-year career. His best effort had been a two-hitter—of which he had eight, the latest coming last Aug. 12 at San Francisco.

The only thing close to a hit was a fly ball by Craig Wilson into the left-center field gap with one out in the eighth. It was chased down and grabbed by Stan Javier, who was playing because Kal Daniels was suffering back spasms. Valenzuela, 29, breezed through the first six inings, only Guerrero reaching base when Gibson dropped his fly ball in left field with two outs in the first.

With one out in the seventh, he began to struggle, walking Guerrero and Todd Zeile. But he settled to retire Terry Pendleton on a fly ball and Jose Oquendo on a grounder to third. He fell behind in the count to two of the three hitters he faced in the eighth, but still retired Rex Hudler on a grounder to shortstop, Ozzie Smith on a wild swinging strikeout and Wilson on the fly ball to Javier.

In the ninth, Valenzuela struck out Vince Coleman on a called third strike that caused Coleman to scream at home plate umpire Jerry Layne. McGee then walked on four pitches. But on an 0-and-2 count, Guerrero, celebrating his 34th birthday, ended the game.

What do you remember most about Valenzuela’s no-hitter? Were any of you there in person for the game, or do you just remember watching it on TV or listening on the radio?

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