The first no-hitter in the Far West League

I can’t tell you yet how many no-hitters were pitched in the Far West League, but this was the first:  Herb Hamilt of the Marysville Braves, who defeated Pittsburg 14-1 on May 5, 1948.  You’ll note in the Sporting News account of the game at left that Hamilt walked nine in his no-hitter, and Pittsburg’s run came when a man scored from second base on a wild pitch.

Walks and wild pitches were a big part of Hamilt’s brief professional career.  As an 18-year-old rookie in 1948 he finished sixth in the league in ERA at 3.45 and held opponents to a .229 batting average.  But he also walked 132 men in 172 innings, with more walks than strikeouts, finishing tied for fourth in the league in walks allowed.  He also ranked second in wild pitches (15) and hit batsmen (14).  I don’t know what it says about Hamilt as a fielder, but he tied for third among FWL pitchers in assists and tied for the league lead among pitchers in double plays participated in, with 5.

Hamilt returned to Marysville in 1949 and went 15-9 for a team that finished seven games below .500, but his other stats suffered.  He allowed the most runs in the league (171 in 216 innings, or 7.12 per 9 innings), his ERA was 5.29, and opponents’ batting average was .280, just above the league average.  He was second in the league in walks, with 147 (again with more walks than strikeouts) and was fourth in wild pitches with 12.

I came across a story in the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard of August 24, 1949, that mentioned Hamilt walked 12 in a 15-8 loss to Redding.  The Browns scored five of those runs in an inning with only one hit, aided by four walks and two wild pitches.

Hamilt apparently never played pro ball after 1949 and I have not found anything else about him.  Perhaps he went into the military?  There are several Hamilts listed in California phone directories, so as the FWL project proceeds I’ll try contacting them to see if any of them are related and try to fill out his story.

1 thought on “The first no-hitter in the Far West League

  1. Pingback: The night Bing Crosby went to a Far West League game « The J.G. Preston Experience

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