July 28, 1976 | OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Chicago White Sox pitchers Blue Moon Odom and Francisco Barrios combined to no-hit the Oakland A’s on this date in 1976. Odom started the game against his old team. Barrios relieved him in the 6th. It was the kind of performance that demonstrated that combined no-hitters are not always masterpieces.
So why would a pitcher throwing a no-hitter be lifted? Let me count the ways; 1) because he walked 9 batters in 5 innings, 2) it was a 2-1 game, 3) it was a key divisional rivalry (the White Sox and A’s were both in the American League West in 1976). The Sox ended up winning the contest 2-1.
The Odom-Barrios no-hitter was the fourth combined no-no in major league baseball history at the time. The first was by pitcher Babe Ruth and Ernie Shore. Ruth started the game in 1917. He walked the first batter, but protested the call so vehemently he was kicked out without retiring a batter. His replacement, Ernie Shore proceeded to retire the next 27 hitters for a no-hitter.
There have been seven more combined no-hitters as of this writing. Two of them required six pitchers; when the Astros no-hit the Yankees on June 11th 2003, and when Seattle beat the Dodgers on June 8th, 2012.