Tom Seaver always said Don Cardwell was always one of the more important, yet under appreciated pitchers on the 1969 staff.
On this date in 1969, Cardwell replaced Nolan Ryan in the third inning and went on to pitch four scoreless innings as the Mets defeated Atlanta, 3-0.
Cardwell offered professionalism and leadership to a young, talented staff. That season Cardwell was a study in perseverance. After a 3-9 start, starting in late July, Cardwell reeled off five straight wins, including a 1-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader, Sept. 12.
Jerry Koosman won the first game, 1-0, and in a rarity, both Koosman and Cardwell drove in the runs.
The victory was the Mets’ ninth straight, and came two days after the team moved into first place for good in the NL East.
Cardwell, the prototypical journeyman pitcher, compiled a 102-138 record with a 3.92 ERA pitching for Philadelphia (1957-60), Chicago Cubs (1960-1962), Pittsburgh (1963-66), the Mets (1967-70) and Atlanta (1970).
Cardwell has the distinction of becoming the first major league pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first start after being traded. After the Phillies traded him to the Cubs, on May 13, 1960, he no-hit St. Louis at Wrigley Field.
That season Cardwell won nine games for the Cubs, but he also hit five home runs.
Cardwell retired in 1970. He eventually returned to his hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, where he died at age 72, Jan. 14, 2008.