“I should have had my no-hitter,” says Steve Arlin. “It was stupid how I lost my no-hitter.”
On July 18, 1972, Arlin, a part-time dentist who occasionally did emergency work on umpires arriving in San Diego with toothaches, carried a no-hitter through 8 2/3 innings against the Phillies. With a 5-0 lead and one out to go in the top of the ninth, he got two strikes on Philadelphia’s Denny Doyle.
That’s when first-year Padres manager Don Zimmer thought Doyle, a lefthanded hitting second baseman, was going to bunt. Zimmer signaled from the dugout to have third baseman Dave Roberts move up about eight feet on the grass.
Doyle, connecting on an inside slider, hit a ball that bounced over Roberts’ head—a ball that he would have been able to field had he been playing in his normal position. Padres shortstop Enzo Hernandez couldn’t make the play.
Arlin gave up a hit to the next batter, too, before closing out the 5-1 win. To this day, he’s still ticked about it.
“It was a case of Zimmer over-managing,’’ Arlin says. “Zimmer wasn’t the sharpest nail in the toolbox. He was growing into the job, but we knew he (Doyle) wasn’t going to bunt with two strikes. And he never bunted in his life.
“Roberts knew he shouldn’t have been playing in. He took a couple of steps back, but Zimmer waved him in again. If Roberts were back in his regular position, it would have been an easy play. I wasn’t happy. Everything was working.’‘
After the game, Zimmer knew that he’d made a mistake so came up to Arlin and handed him a razor blade, and “told me to go ahead and use it on him.’‘