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Ad Brennan Threw Two No-Hitters in 1911 (Part 1)

By: Brian Frank

Addison “Ad” Brennan began the 1911 season as a member of the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies. In June, an optional agreement was made to allow the twenty-four-year-old left-handed pitcher to work on his craft with the Buffalo Bisons. The Phillies were able to allow Brennan to come to Buffalo, because their pitching staff was “overstocked with port side flingers.”[1] It was one of a number of roster moves made during the season by Bisons manager George Stallings in an effort to spark a team stuck in the middle of the Eastern League standings. Brennan had a solid outing in his first start with the Bisons, an impressive 11-3 rout of the Providence Grays, but it was his second start with the Herd that cemented his place in minor league baseball history.

It was a rainy day at West Side Grounds in Jersey City, New Jersey, on June 25, 1911. In fact, conditions were so poor that on their way to the game, Bisons team president J.J. Stein and manager George Stallings were told by a street car conductor that Buffalo’s game against the Jersey City Skeeters had been postponed. By the time Stein and Stallings were notified that the game was actually going to be played, they weren’t able to make it to the field until the second inning.[2] It would rain on and off throughout the game, causing only a small crowd to be on hand.

Buffalo Courier, June 25, 1911

Jersey City sent right-hander Elijah “Bumpus” Jones to the mound to face Buffalo’s new pitcher, Ad Brennan. The Bisons threatened in the first inning, when with one out, Jack White singled to right field, and center fielder Noah Henline drew a walk. However, Jones escaped the jam when Art McCabe smashed a line drive to Skeeters shortstop Roxey Roach, who fired the ball to second baseman Dick Brean to double off White and end the inning.

Ad Brennan established his dominance early in the game, when he struck out the side in the second inning. In the third, Jersey City pitcher Bumpus Jones became the only man to reach base for the Skeeters all afternoon, when Brennan threw a two strike pitch that bounced in front of the plate and then struck Jones. Bisons team president J.J. Stein said that, in his opinion, the umpire should have called Jones out, rather than awarding him first base. The Buffalo Courier wrote that Stein:

declared with emphasis that Brennan should have had a perfect game, for he actually struck out Jones on the pitched ball that sent him to first, the only man that reached that corner. Mr. Stein declares that the ball was a fast-breaking drop and that Jones struck at it, making his third strike, when the ball broke, hit the ground and struck Jones’ foot, the umpire gave Jones his base, when he should have called the third strike.[3]

With Ad Brennan dealing, Jersey City’s Bumpus Jones was also dialed in on the mound. After the first inning, Buffalo wouldn’t mount another threat until the sixth, when with two outs, Jones issued walks to Jack White and Noah Henline. However, Jones quickly recovered and induced Art McCabe to ground into a fielder’s choice to keep the game scoreless. The Herd got another base runner in the seventh inning, when Bud Sharpe lined a single to left, but were again unable to score.

Ad Brennan, Buffalo Courier, June 26, 1911

Buffalo finally got on the board in the eighth. Ad Brennan led off the inning by hitting a slow roller to second baseman Dick Brean, whose throw to first pulled Bill Abstein off the bag.[4] According to the Buffalo Express, the play “exasperated Jones so much that he lost control and walked (Frank) Truesdale, putting Brennan on the midway.”[5] With runners at first and second, and nobody out, Jack White laid down a bunt attempting to sacrifice the runners along, but Bumpus Jones was unable to pick the ball up cleanly, and all hands were safe. With the bases loaded, the Buffalo Courier said that the next batter, Noah Henline “came to life with a cloud-scraper to right, and while (right fielder George) Wheeler got under it, Brennan scored far ahead of the right fielder’s throw in, sewing the game up.”[6] It was the Bisons only run of the day, as they managed just four hits off Jones.

Brennan mowed down the Skeeters with such dominant command, that only one batter the entire game had a three ball count.[7] In the end, the hit batsman in the third inning was the only blemish on Brennan’s record. The Buffalo Express wrote that “Brennan was the big candy kid this afternoon and proved the whole show is himself and it is no wonder that Manager Stallings patted him on the back when he walked in to the bench after he had sent the last Skeeter away from the plate without the semblance of a hit in their nine trials to solve his puzzling delivery.”[8] The Buffalo Evening News wrote “It was without question the greatest twirling seen in this section of the country in several years…”[9]

Box Score, Buffalo Times, June 26, 1911

Amazingly, Bisons president J.J. Stein claimed that Brennan threw the no-hitter with a sore left shoulder. The day after the game, the Buffalo Evening News reported that:

Pitcher Brennan, in conversation with Pres. Stein and several players, mentioned that his arm was sore. Manager Stallings heard of it, and when Addison asked the Bison boss who he intended working Sunday Manager Stallings said he had decided to use Brennan, but told the pitcher he understood his arm was sore. “No, there is nothing wrong with my arm,” said Brennan, “just a little something in the shoulder, but it doesn’t amount to anything.” Manager Stallings appeared satisfied. At any rate, Brennan’s salary whip wasn’t right and with such an ailment the average pitcher of today cries for a rest. It certainly looks as though the Bisons leader has picked a prize in landing Brennan.[10]

Rumors began to circulate after his amazing performance, that the Phillies wanted Brennan back. Bisons manager George Stallings rushed to Philadelphia, to try to ensure his prized new hurler would stay with the Herd. The Buffalo Express reported that Stallings was able to arrange “everything satisfactorily, and No-hit, No-run Brennan will remain a member of the Buffalo club.” Buffalo baseball fans were elated to hear their new ace would remain with the team, but Jersey City hitters probably didn’t have a similar reaction. In fact, later in the season, Brennan would pitch another game for the ages, and it was once again against the Skeeters.

To be continued...


[1] “Stallings Gets Brennan and Schultz from Quakers; Ten Pitchers on Staff,” Buffalo Courier, June 12, 1911.

[2] “Brennan Sets Record with Aching Whip,” Buffalo Evening News, June 26, 1911.

[3] “Sport Gossip of General Interest,” Buffalo Courier, June 27, 1911.

[4] Brennan was credited with a hit on the play.

[5] “Brennan has Desired Mark,” Buffalo Express, June 26, 1911.

[6] “Brennan Pitches First No-Hit Game of Year, Bisons Beating Skeeters 1-0,” Buffalo Courier, June 26, 1911.

[7] “Brennan Sets Record with Aching Whip,” Buffalo Evening News, June 26, 1911.

[8] “Brennan has Desired Mark,” Buffalo Express, June 26, 1911.

[9] “Ad Brennan Twirls No-Hit-No-Run Game,” Buffalo Evening News, June 26, 1911.

[10] “Brennan Sets Record with Aching Whip,” Buffalo Evening News, June 26, 1911.

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