(Editor's Note: Fifth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
Just 9,583 hearty souls ventured to Wrigley Field on a cool drizzly Sunday afternoon to watch the Cubs host the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16, 1972 in the second game of the season. They were rewarded for their dedication with an unforgettable day as Burt Hooton pitched a no-hitter in the North Siders' 4-0 triumph.
The 22-year-old right-hander from the University of Texas was selected by the Cubs with the second pick in the previous summer's June secondary amateur draft and rocketed to the majors late in 1971 after just 12 minor-league appearances.
Hooton, whose signature pitch was an often times baffling knuckle curve, was making just his fourth major league start.
It didn't come easy for the rookie. He struck out seven and walked seven, issuing bases on balls in six of the first seven innings. But only twice - in the sixth and seventh - did the Phillies advance a baserunner as far as second base.
The Cubs provided Hooton with all of the offense he would need when they pushed across an unearned run against former Cubs right-hander Dick Selma in the fourth inning. Ron Santo scored from second base on a throwing error by Tim McCarver after the Philadelphia catcher fielded a Don Kessinger bunt.
The Cubs added two more runs in the seventh on a two-run, two-out single by Randy Hundley off Phillies reliever Chris Short in the seventh, and tacked on another run in the eighth when Jose Cardenal led off against Bucky Brandon with a triple and scored on a single by Glenn Beckert.
Hooton mowed down the final seven hitters he faced and struck out slugger Greg Luzinski swinging to end it. Hooton displayed a wide grin and pumped his fist before getting pummeled on the mound by his teammates.
"It's a no-hitter!" Jack Brickhouse exclaimed."A no-hitter for the kid, Burt Hooton!"
It was one of two no-hitters authored by Cubs pitchers that season and each of them were caught by Hundley. The veteran catcher was not behind the plate for either of Kenny Holtzman's no-hitters, in 1969 and 1971, because of injuries.