May 01, 2012
On May 1st, 1906, 20 year old Johnny Lush (above) took the mound for the Phillies against the Brooklyn Superbas (later known as the Dodgers). A first baseman and an outfielder in addition to being a pitcher, on this day the Phils had him on the hill, and the lefty’s stuff was electric.
Johnny was born in Williamsport, PA, to a father from Germany and mother from Ireland (Insert “Lush” joke here). His father died when he was young, making him eligible to attend Girard College in Philly (which at the time only admitted fatherless boys). After starring in baseball and swimming, he graduated from Girard and went straight to the Phillies, where he played first base. There was a ton of hype surrounding the teenager, who the Phillies hoped would return them to relevance.
And so, on May 1st, 1906, Lush took on a Brooklyn team that most notably had three guys named “Doc” (Scanlan, Casey, and Gessler). The doctors were unable to revive the ‘Bas bats, and the home crowd at Washington Park in Brooklyn (above) was treated to the 5th no-hitter in Phillies history. The children in the crowd that day would be old men by the time another Phillie threw a no-no (Jim Bunning in 1964).
At 20 years old, Lush became the youngest pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter, a distinction he still claims. It would, however, be the highlight of his career. He would get traded to Saint Louis in 1907, but despite a 2.68 career ERA, he was snakebitten, and finished his career at age 24 with a paltry 66-85 record. You have to wonder, with an ERA like that, what kind of a career he would have had with the Cubs or the Pirates or another succesful team of the 1900s.
After his career, Johnny Lush pulled a reverse Johnny Goodtimes, moving to Hawaii from Philly. He had a successful career selling high end jewelry and antiques. He died in California at age 61 in 1946.