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Pappas happy for Zambrano as his 36-year run
Similar to many Chicago-area residents the last few days, former Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas has been concerned about the possibility of water creeping into his basement.
Once he felt secure about his home, Pappas settled back to watch the Cubs face the Astros on Sunday night. Right there on his TV, Carlos Zambrano tossed the Cubs' first no-hitter in 36 years.
Pappas threw the last one for the Cubs, in 1972 against San Diego.
Only a two-out walk on a controversial 3-2 pitch to Larry Stahl kept Pappas from a perfect game.
"Thirty-six years was a hell of a run," Pappas said from his home in south suburban Beecher. "I can't complain.
Known as a precise control pitcher, Pappas won 209 games for four teams: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta and the Cubs.
"I figured that [Rich] Harden, the way he has been pitching, or Zambrano would do it. With the innings Zambrano pitches, I thought he would be more likely to do it. After all of those days he had off, he came out smoking."
The 1972 season was the best of Pappas' career. He matched his career high with 17 wins with a 2.77 ERA, reached the 3,000-innings plateau for his career, pitched a no-hitter and won his 200th career game.
Pappas still begrudges umpire Bruce Froemming for calling that ball to ruin his shot at the perfect game. Pappas noted that Zambrano ended his game by getting Darin Erstad to swing at a pitch out of the zone.
"I saw that last pitch that [Erstad] swung at and missed, and I said, 'Why in the hell didn't Larry Stahl swing at my last pitch?' " Pappas said.
"I'm still the last guy to pitch a no-hitter for the Cubs at Wrigley Field. That says something itself."