On Friday May 17th, 1963 Don Nottebart threw the first no-hitter in Houston Astros history. In ’63, the team was still called the Houston Colt .45s, and had yet to move into the Astrodome, but this is the date of the first no-no in franchise history.
The opponent was the Philadelphia Phillies. The venue, Shibe Park. Nottebart was enjoying a nice start to his ’63 campaign, totaling 24 innings between March and April and compiling a 2.63 ERA. On this Friday in Philadelphia, Nottebart struck out eight and walked three, receiving some help from outfielder Howie Goss, who delivered a three-run shot in the sixth. The Colt .45s would take the game 4-1.
I didn’t throw a curve all night,” he revealed. “I could hear Gene Mauch (Philly manager) yelling from the dugout ‘You’ll never make it Nottebart, you’ll never make it’ and that seemed to give me an extra push,” Nottebart said. – Sportswriter Olen Clements in the Houston Chronicle (05/17/1963)”
Want to hear the radio call for the last out of the game? Click here to check out Baseball Almanac’s clip.
Don Nottebart was great that day, but in true Nottebart fashion, he was either fantastic or so-so. In his eleven wins that season, the right-hander held a 1.36 ERA, while in his eight losses he came in with a 5.51.
That day he was fantastic, but in two other appearances against Philadelphia that season, Nottebart went 0-1, allowing ten runs in four innings. Want to hear the oddest stat of them all? Even though Don Nottebart threw a no-hitter in May, that month held his worst ERA all season, at 3.69.
Now, I wasn’t there for the game, and I came into existence 20 years later, but some of the statistics surrounding the first no-hitter in Houston history were just too cool to not write about. Don Nottebart never received accolades from baseball. No Cy Young awards, and he’s not in the Hall of Fame, but he did make history for the Houston Colt .45s and that should never be forgotten.