Dave Righetti, No-Hitter Etiquette

Yankee Doodle Dandy: Looking Back at Rags’ July 4 No-No

On Independence Day, it seems pertinent to reference the anniversary of one of the great feats to take place on this day, baseball-wise: Dave Righetti’s no-hitter, on July 4, 1983.

It’s pertinent to the unwritten rules, of course, in that Yankees broadcaster Mel Allen refused to mention the feat directly on the air.

“There have been five hits in this ballgame, for those who have turned in late, and the Yankees have had ’em all,” he said in the top of the sixth, conspicuously avoiding a certain two-word combination. As Wade Boggs settled in as the game’s final batter, Allen said, “Wade Boggs, standing between Dave Righetti and a pitcher’s dream.” (Watch it here.)

As it turned out, Allen was far more cognizant of the Code than at least one member of the Yankees. Righetti and Graig Nettles had been planning a trip to Atlantic City for the All-Star break, and Nettles wasn’t about to let some silly superstition get between him and his planning.

“In the sixth or seventh inning he came up and asked me who was driving,” said Righetti, who was a bit surprised to find any of his teammates willing to converse with him at that point. “He volunteered, even though he had pinkeye.”

He also had good sense. At ease talking about driving assignments, the third baseman never mentioned the no-hitter.

Happy July 4, everybody.