The unintended theme of “Players from the disappointing Giants teams of the mid 1970’s” continues with Ed Halicki.
You may not remember his name. But between August 24, 1975 and July 10, 2009, he was the answer to a challenging trivia question. “Who was the last Giants pitcher to throw a no hitter?”
With the flurry of Giants no nos over the last few years (Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, Chris Heston and 2 by Tim Lincecum) it is easy to forget that from the first year without BOBBY Bonds to 2 years after the end of BARRY Bonds, no Giants pitcher threw a no hitter.
Halicki was a Jersey kid and a Mets fan, a fact that would be ironic later in his life.
Drafted out of Monouth University in the 24th round of the 1972 draft, he worked his way up the Giants system, making his debut in 1974. By 1975, he was on the big league roster for good.
In his second start in 1975, he pitched into the 11th inning, going 10 2/3 frames, allowing 5 hits, 1 walk and 10 strikeouts while giving up one unearned run. Guess what? He got the loss. That 1 unearned run in the 11th was the only run in the 1-0 game against Philadelphia. He threw several complete games in June and July and another in August.
He was not spectacular but steady for a Giants team that had no hope of contending but tried to hover around .500.
Then the Mets and Giants played a double header on August 24th at Candlestick Park.
The Mets took the opener without much drama, 9-5. Halicki pitched the night cap. Craig Swan took the mound for the Mets. Dave Rader, yesterday’s Card of the Day, caught for San Francisco.
Willie Montanez gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the first. Halicki retired the first 9 batters he faced. Then the Mets went 1-2-3 in the 4th.
Rusty Staub led off the 5th with a ball that glanced off of Halicki and played by the second baseman. The official scorer called it an error. Some of the New York sports writers could not believe the decision. The game went on and there was no hit awarded to Staub. No hits through 5.
Pinch hitter Mike Vail walked against Halicki in the 6th but he was stranded. They Mets went 1-2-3 in the 7th and 8th, setting up a chance for immortality for Halicki in the 9th.
Del Unser drew a one out walk in the 9th, but Halicki recovered to strikeout Felix Millan and got Wayne Garrett to ground out to clinch the no hitter. He threw a no hitter against the Mets… the team of his youth.
It was the crowning achievement of a pitcher who had a solid if unspectacular 7 year career. He won a career high 16 games in 1977 and threw 199 solid innings to a 2.85 ERA when San Francisco contended in 1978.
After a cameo with the Angels in 1980, his big league career was done.
He remains the answer to a trivia question: Who was the last Giants pitcher to throw a no hitter at Candlestick Park?
That would be Halicki. There won’t be another one. There is no longer Candlestick Park anymore. I’ve been to the site. It is gone.
So he made the bigs, threw a no hitter and is the answer to a trivia question where nobody can ever erase or surpass him.
Not bad for a 24th round pick from New Jersey.