Before there was Jered Weaver, there was Bo.
At the age of 64, Bo Belinsky died of a heart attack. There were many mourners present for services at Trintiy Life Center in Las Vegas.
Individuals near the front of the chapel included Dean Chance, the American League Cy Young Award winner in 1964 who was Bo Belinsky’s closest friend on the Los Angeles Angels, and Albie Pearson, the team’s center fielder.
A short distance away was Dick Williams, who had played left field for the Baltimore Orioles on May 5, 1962 and Steve Barber, who had started the game that day.
Belinsky pitched the first no-hitter in Angels history as a rookie that May day, but he was famous even before his masterpiece. Belinsky had been insulted by the Angels’ offer of $6,000 for his first major league season. He did what a rookie was not supposed to do. He held out for more money.
Belinsky told the Angels that he wanted at least $8,500. If he didn’t receive it, he wouldn’t report and he would hustle pool in Trenton, New Jersey. The Angels told Belinsky they would renegotiate his contract during the middle of the season, which satisfied him.
Upon reporting to the Angels’ spring training headquarters at the Desert Inn, Belinsky was wearing dark sunglasses, a cashmere jacket, a yellow sports shirt, extremely tight pants and suede shoes. Belinsky referred to himself as the “crazy left-hander.” The writers were amazed and pleased because he was a “story.”
There were 15,886 paying customers at Dodger Stadium on May 5, 1962. Belinsky faced the Baltimore Orioles. He dominated them. Braven Dyer of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "I can report that the Birds didn't even come close to getting a hit."
The 25-year-old left-hander struck out nine, walked four and didn’t allow a hit as the Angels beat the Orioles, 2-0.
Things got a little tense in the fourth inning. After striking out Brooks Robinson, Belinsky walked Jim Gentile and Jackie Brandt. Powerful right-handed slugger Gus Triandos hit a double-play grounder to third base, but Felix Torres booted the ball to load the bases.
Bearing down, Belinsky struck out Dave Nicholson and retired Ron Hansen on a fly ball to center field for the final out of the first no-hitter ever pitched in the city of Los Angeles.
Sandy Koufax didn’t pitch his first no-hit game until June 30, 1962 against the expansion New York Mets.