CBCSports.ca periodically wishes a happy birthday to athletes and others involved in the sports world that have left a lasting legacy on their game. Today, we say "Happy 56th" to Dave Stieb, the only pitcher in Blue Jays history to record a no-hitter.
Dave Stieb began his major league career in 1979 with the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Santa Ana, Calif., native was billed as a power pitcher, relying on his fastball and challenging hitters high and inside. But, as you can see below, Stieb was more than a one-dimensional hurler. He developed a few deceptive pitches, including a much-feared slider:
It was with these tricky tosses that Stieb flirted with history. He carried no-hit bids into the ninth inning on four occasions, including this perfect game that survived with just one out remaining in a 1989 game against the Yankees:
As heartbreaking as it is to be so close to perfection (including in back-to-back starts in 1988), Stieb just kept plugging away. Finally, with a no-hit bid heading into the ninth inning for a fifth time, this happened:
Sadly, Stieb's pitching career seemed to reach its peak at this point, as he was hit with a series of shoulder and back injuries in 1991. He finished his last season as a Jays starter in 1992, picking up a World Series ring along the way.
He returned to the Jays in 1998, coming out of the bullpen for a season, but retired after that year as the team's franchise leader in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts.
Stieb is still involved in the Jays' spring training activities... despite the video below:
In honour of Stieb's birthday and, as the above clip mentioned "what a hunk" and "so nice looking" he is, let's salute the pitcher with the entrance music of fellow July 22 birthday boy Shawn Michaels:
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