Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 23, 1952: Battle Of The One Hitters... Sugar Cain Outduels Rapid Robert

     On April 23, 1952, a pitching duel for the ages broke out at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis with Browns hurler Bob "Sugar" Cain outdueling future Hall of Famer and star of the Cleveland Indians Bob Feller, with both pitchers allowing just one hit. The Browns were able to come out on top of the tilt by the score of 1-0, but it wasn't because of a lack of effort by "Rapid Robert".

      It was just the second time in major league history that two pitcher had thrown a one hitter in the same contest. The first time happened  on Independence Day in 1906, when Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown of the Chicago Cubs outdueled Pirates hurler Lefty Leifield in Pittsburgh with the Cubs coming out on top 1-0.

     Second baseman Bobby Young picked up the Browns lone hit with a leadoff triple right out of the gate in the bottom  of the first. Marty Marion followed it up with a hot shot to third that was fumbled by the Al Rosen as Young came crossing the plate. There was an error charged on the play for not getting Marion at first, but the official scorer consider the run earned as he believed that Young would have scored regardless.

     The only hit given up by Cain was a single to Luke Easter in the fifth. It was followed by a walk, a flyout, and a double play to eliminate the Cleveland threat. Cain allowed three walks total in the contest, and each time his defense came up with a double play that  had stopped any hopes of a Cleveland rally.

     The one hitter by Cain was the first of his career, while Feller had just recorded his 11th. It was the first and only loss for Feller when allowing just one hit. The performance by Cain and Feller in '52 was witnessed by 7,110 fans on a chilly day in St. Louis, and they were treated to a truly historic gem that was put in the books 1 hour and 58 minutes after the first pitch was thrown.

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