Chuck Parsons - No-hitter 1974
Personal Bests is a series that will highlight some of the best athletic accomplishments in Hampshire County history. This week we highlight a pitching performance for the ages from the late 1970’s.
On March 24, 2010, Sports Editor Jim King wrote a column highlighting Chuck Parsons no-hitter in 1974 in response to Nathan Whitacre’s no-hitter in 2010. Whitacre notched his no-hitter in a 12-0 win over Keyser. Also of note, pitcher Kevin Combs notched a no-hitter in the late 1980s.
Nathan Whitacre’s no-hitter for the Hampshire Trojans last week (March 2010) got people excited, unearthing some interesting lore along the way.
Athletic Director Erino Leone tried to put the feat in perspective.
“It’s the 1st one since Eric Hott,” he was gushing the morning after. “And then the Parsons kid pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game back in the early 70s.”
As a reminder, a no-hitter means just that – a pitcher doesn’t allow a hit, but opposing batters could still reach base via an error, walk or being hit by a pitch. A perfect game means not only no hits, but nobody reaches base – 3 up and 3 down in every inning.
Leone was almost right on one and definitely wrong on the other.
Hott, a 1993 Hampshire graduate, never threw one, but Kevin Combs threw a no-hitter on May 2, 1989.
“You can make up a story as you wish,” Eric Hott laughed. “I threw one in Senior League and came close at Hampshire, but I never threw a no-hitter there.”
He had “a couple 1- or 2-hitters” as a college hurler at West Virginia Wesleyan and got to the 7th inning in the semi-pro PenMar League before a bunt ended that one.
So what about “the Parsons kid”?
In 1974 Chuck Parsons picked up Hampshire’s 1st-ever no-hitter.
Even better, it was almost 2 no-hitters.
Hampshire, a Class AA school back then, played in the Potomac Valley Conference, more than a dozen teams stretching from Wardensville to Piedmont.
The Trojans were having a heck of a 1974 season, running through the PVC unbeaten. Parsons was the ace of the team with 3 1-hitters among the 6 victories he had as the Trojans headed into a season-ending doubleheader at home against Wardensville on May 15.
Parsons pitched the 1st game spectacularly.
“I remember that I had all my stuff,” he says, “a good slider and my fastball was moving pretty good. They couldn’t touch me.”
One Wardensville Warrior reached on an error. Parsons walked 3 and struck out 12.
His own triple in the 2nd inning drove in a pair of runs in the 3-0 Trojan victory.
With that nifty no-hitter to his credit, Parsons settled in to play 3rd base in the finale, scheduled for 5 innings.
But the 2nd game got away from the Trojans quickly.
Wardensville jumped all over starter Rick Lynch. They roughed him up in the 1st inning for a pair of runs on 3 hits, an error and a walk.
Coach Harry McDonald yanked Lynch and sent Parsons back in.
The slender right-hander took the mound with only one out recorded, trailing 2-0 and the bases loaded.
“He quickly retired the side,” reported the Cumberland News.
Then he sent the Warriors down 1-2-3 in the 2nd as his Trojans scraped together a run.
Parsons kept the Warriors off base again in the 3rd. In the bottom of the frame, Hampshire pushed across another run, tying the score.
Through 6 long innings, Parsons kept mowing them down while waiting for his teammates to score that go-ahead run.
He let just 1 ball out of the infield, which was caught, but never gave up a base runner through the 5-2/3 innings he pitched. He struck out 10, bringing his total to 22 for the evening. In the nightcap, he faced 17 batters and retired 17 batters, the equivalent of a perfect game, all on the heels of a no-hitter.
“That was the last game of the season,” Parsons recalls. “We were undefeated. I wanted the perfect season for the team.”
He got it. The Trojans finished 11-0, with Parsons claiming 8 of those, before bowing in the sectionals.
For 15 years, his no-hitter was the only one in the Trojan record book. In this era of pitch counts, his accomplishment that night will likely never be matched. ο