Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kroll pitched two pro no-hitters at age 18

Uncommon commons. Contemporary accounts of tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they helped bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figure that if I found these items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors.

Yesterday we presented the story of a minor league pitchers who lost two no-hit bids to the same batter in 1960.

Today we have the story of a young minor league pitcher who threw two no-hitters at the age of 18, though they were in different leagues in different seasons.

Gary Kroll signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies at the age of 17 in 1959. Assigned to the rookie level Appalachian League at Johnson City, Kroll pitched a 9-0 no-hitter against Lynchburg on Aug. 3, less than a month after turning 18. He had a 5-3 record that season.

He was promoted to Bakersfield in the California League (Class C) for 1960. On May 20, he pitched his second professional no-hitter, beating Visalia 1-0 with 11 strikeouts.

At one point in 1960, Kroll had 13 straight wins before losing to Stockton on July 16. He won his next start and had 14 strikeouts, bringing his record to 14-3.

Kroll didn't fare so well the rest of the season. He won only three more games while losing nine. On Aug. 5, he tied the Cal League record with 19 strikeouts in a game, but lost 4-3 when he balked home the winning run.

Kroll did make the majors for four seasons, 1964-1966 and 1969, with the Phillies, Mets, Astros and Indians. He lifetime MLB record is 6-7 with a 4.24 ERA, averaging 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

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