2013 - The 75th Anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer's Back to Back No Hitters!

Special Message from Eddie Einhorn: Vice-Chairman & Co-Owner Chicago White Sox

My father took me to my first baseball game in 1946 when I was 10 years old. It was at the Polo Grounds where the New York Giants, his favorite team, were playing the Cincinnati Reds. He told me that he got the tickets from JOHNNY VANDER MEER, a pitcher on the Reds, who lived in the Prospect Park, NJ. We lived in the adjoining city, Paterson. I told my dad, if Johnny got us the tickets, I'm going to root for the Reds.

During the game, he told me that when I was only two-years-old in 1938, Johnny once pitched two no-hitters in a row, something no pitcher in the Major Leagues had ever done. Ironically, it's 75 years later now, and while there have been many great ball-of-fame pitchers since that time, no-one has duplicated the incredible feat of JOHNNY VANDER MEER.

After the delay of more than an hour the umpire finally called out the familiar “Play ball!” About the only player in the Bees’ lineup that today’s average baseball fan might recognize was Vince DiMaggio, the brother of Joe. The Bees’ manager was a different matter; he was the crafty Casey Stengel, who would become legendary manager of the NY Yankees. Vandy’s catcher was one of the premier catchers in the league—Ernesto “Schnozz” Lombardi. He was large and slow-footed but had an outstanding batting average of .342, a fine throwing arm, and could handle pitchers well. His batting average might have been higher had he had any speed on the bases.

I guess the story impressed me so much that I became a Cincinnati Reds fan and an avid baseball fan from that Sunday afternoon on. I followed the Reds through the dark days of the 50s, and then in 1961 it finally happened. They won the pennant but lost to the Yankees in the World Series. I attended every game. In fact, I attended every Reds post-season game from then until 1979.

I always had a dream that I would buy the Reds one day. I had been in the Sports-TV business for over 20 years, but sold my company in 1979. Here was my chance to buy a baseball team. As is turned out, my law school classmate, Jerry Reinsdorf wanted to do the same thing. We bought the Chicago White Sox in 1981.

I went from a fan, to a vendor at Comiskey Park during the World Series of 1959, to an MLB team owner in 1981. I started to remember that it all started back in 1938 with JOHNNY VANDER MEER. But I never actually met him. His final year in the Major Leagues was 1951. But I was determined to meet him and had the chance when we hosted the All-Star Game in 1983.

I decided we would do a monster all-star Old Timers Game the day before as a special tribute to the 50th Anniversary Game. The White Sox had hosted the first All-Star Game in 1933, so I invited every living player from that game. I then decided to invite other Hall-of-Famers and then thought I'd include players who had done something special in their careers - so I invited Johnny. We got to visit for the first time and were reminiscing about the good old days in New Jersey for hours. That still ranks as one of my very special days in my 50 years in sports.