JR Richard's Minor League No-Hitter

Cocoa Astros 2 Daytona Beach Dodgers 0

August 28, 1970

        Fireballer Whiffs 10 in 2 - 0 Win        

James Rodney Richard got a little miffed with the fans at Cocoa Stadium Friday night, and didn't calm down until he had pitched an almost flawless no-hitter against the Daytona Beach Dodgers. The 6' 8" smoke-throwing righthander has been the favorite of the Cocoa fans all season, but he didn't like the idea of his hometown fans rooting for the other team. He had already watched his team lose a 2 - 1 thriller to the Dodgers in the first game of the doubleheader, so when the fans cheered the Dodgers at the start of the second game, Richard got riled up and tossed a 2 - 0 no-hitter for the Astros.

It was understandable for some of the 460 fans to root for the Dodgers, though, because one of Brevard County's favorite sons was pitching for them. Lefthander Randy Fairbanks, who made quite a name for himself as a high school and American Legion hurler at Satellite Beach before signing with the Dodgers last June, was making his only local appearance of the season.

Richard still didn't like his fans rooting against him, and long before the game ended, he had won them back by sending batter after batter back to the bench with his bat in his hand. The big fireballer faced only one over the minimum of 21 batters for a seven-inning game. He struck out 10 and walked only one, but two others reached on errors by shortstop Mario Freeman. Bob Long was safe on an error in the first inning, but was thrown out trying to steal. Ivan DeJesus walked on a 3-2 pitch in the third and was tagged out in a rundown. By the end of the sixth inning Richard had faced the minimum number of 18 batters.

The fans sensed the no-hitter and cheered lustily as Richard got the first two batters in the seventh. The tension mounted as Orlando Alvarez worked Richard to a 3-2 count. The Dodger leftfielder then hit a routine grounder at Freeman, but the Astro shortstop threw wide of the bag at first, forcing Richard to have to face cleanup batter Lee Robinson. Richard got Robinson to hit an easy grounder to third for the final out and his first no-hitter as a professional.    "

Daytona Beach Dodgers ABRHRBI

John Gamble, 2b 3 0 0 0
Bob Long, rf 3 0 0 0
Orlando Alvarez, lf 3 0 0 0
Lee Robinson, c 3 0 0 0
Kara Hall, 3b 2 0 0 0
Randy Bayer, 1b 2 0 0 0
Jim Cardasis, cf 2 0 0 0
Ivan DeJesus, ss 1 0 0 0
Randal Fairbanks, p 1 0 0 0
Dick Dorsch, p 0 0 0 0
Dick Thompson, ph 1 0 0 0

Daytona Beach totals21 0 0 0
Cocoa Astros ABRHRBI

Mario Freeman, ss 3 0 0 0
Bob Shearer, 3b 3 1 1 0
Martin Boer, cf 2 1 0 0
Steve Gardner, 1b 3 0 2 1
Don McLaughlin, 2b 2 0 2 0
Jose Lopez, rf 2 0 0 0
Lew Brown, c 2 0 0 0
Anthony Sturdevant, lf
JR Richard, p 2 0 0 0

Cocoa totals35 4 9 4

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Daytona Beach Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cocoa Astros 2 0 0 0 0 0 0

E- Freeman 2
DP- Daytona Beach 1
LOB- Cocoa 7 Daytona Beach 1
2B - McLaughlin

Daytona Beach Dodgers IPHRERBBK

Randy Fairbanks (L, 4 - 5) 5 5 2 2 6 1
Dick Dorsch 1 2 0 0 0 0

Cocoa Astros IPHRERBBK

JR Richard (W, 4 - 11) 7 0 0 0 1 10

WP- Fairbanks
Balk - Fairbanks
Time - 1:35 Attendance - 460

When he pitched this game, JR Richard was concluding his second season in the Astros' minor league organization. After being drafted number one in the June 1969 draft out of Ruston High School in Louisiana, he spent the rest of '69 with Covington, going 5 - 4 with a befuddling 6.59 ERA. Control or no control, how did Rookie League hitters score nearly seven times every nine innings on this guy?

With Cocoa in 1970, who were not a good team, he got the ERA in line, but the 4 - 11 record he finished this game with was the one he finished the year with. For 1971, Richard would start at AAA Oklahoma City, then get a September callup which he opened by tying the major league record for strikeouts in a debut performance.

For his part, the player who caused such a ruckus with Richard, Randy Fairbanks, never did reach the majors, not even AAA. Three times he compiled a season ERA under 3.00, but he never seemed to glavanize attention and earn the promotion. With a new club each year after 1971, Fairbanks played minor league ball for five years with the Dodgers, Giants, Pirates, Rangers, and an unffiliated team in 1974. His high water mark was in his last year, with the 1975 AA Pittsfield Rangers.

Source: Florida Today, August 29, 1970

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