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On This Date in Sports April 7, 1984: Jack Morris and the Tigers Roar

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

In a game shown on NBC’s Saturday Game of the Week, Jack Morris puts his stamp on the Detroit Tiger historic start, by no-hitting the Chicago White Sox 4-0 at Comiskey Park. It was the first Tiger No Hitter since Jim Bunning in 1958. The Tigers would start the season winning 35 of their first 40 games, including 17 straight wins on the road.

Since Sparky Anderson became the manager in 1979, the Detroit Tigers were a good team that had yet to put it all together. As Spring Training was coming to an end, the Tigers made a big trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, getting reliever Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez and Dave Bergman for John Wockenfuss and Glenn Wilson.

The trade acted like a power booster for the Tigers, who started the season the road won a pair of games in the Metrodome against the Minnesota Twins 8-1 and 7-3. Moving south, they beat the Chicago White Sox spoiling the home opener for the defending American League West Champions with a 3-2 win.

A day later at Comiskey Park, the Tigers had Opening Day starter Jack Morris on the hill for a Nationally televised game, while Floyd Bannister made the start for Tony LaRussa’s White Sox. Both pitchers breezed through the first inning, with Morris striking out Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines. In the second inning Chet Lemon, who began his career with the White Sox smoked a Floyd Bannister pitch for a two-run homer. Morris would retire the first nine batters. However, he lost the plate in the fourth inning, walking Rudy Law, Fisk and Baines to start the inning. The Tigers ace would wiggle out of the jam, getting Greg Luzinski to hit into a 1-2-3 double play. Ron Kittle followed with a strikeout and the inning was over. Chet Lemon and Kirk Gibson started the fifth with back to back doubles to make it 3-0 for Detroit. Gibson later makes it 4-0 scoring on a ground ball by Lou Whitaker. Jack Morris allowed two more walks over the next four innings but remained in command as he looked to make history in the ninth inning. He would retire Fisk and Baines with ease, but one out away issued his sixth walk to Luzinski adding to the tension in the stadium. Jack Morris though was not going to be denied as he struck out Ron Kittle to end the game, for his only career No-Hitter.

The Tigers would win their first nine games in 1984, and eventually held a record of 35-5, building an eight and a half game lead they would never relinquish. The record was the best 40-game start in MLB history it included a 17-game winning streak on the road, that came to an end on Memorial Day weekend with a lost weekend in Seattle against the Mariners. There were not many other lost weekends for the Tigers that upcoming Summer as they posted a 104-58 record and went on to win the World Series, using the motto ‘Bless You, Boys”.