Greatest Moments: No. 29 Hooton Makes Mets Knuckle (Curve) Under

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

(Editor's Note: Second in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)

Burt Hooton was making just his second major league appearance when he started for the Cubs against the New York Mets in the second game of a twilight doubleheader on Sept. 15, 1971.

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The 21-year-old right-hander's knuckle curve was a pitch that New York hitters were apparently unfamiliar with and any of the butterflies Hooton had experienced in his major league debut - five walks and three hits allowed in 3 1/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 17 - were no longer present.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the Cubs leading 2-0, Hooton had allowed no hits, struck out 10 and had set down 16 consecutive hitters since issuing a walk to Ken Singleton in the second inning. But the no-hitter was broken up by a Mike Jorgensen single and the shutout went by the boards when Singleton launched a two-run, game-tying homer.

But Hooton seemed to quickly shake off the disappointment, striking out Duffy Dyer to end the seventh and setting the Mets down in order in the eighth.

A solo pinch homer by Billy Williams in the top of the ninth put the Cubs back in front and Hooton returned to the mound to complete his three-hit masterpiece in the bottom half.

Leadoff hitter Wayne Garrett grounded out to second baseman Paul Popovich. John Milner followed with a single, but the 6-1, 210-pound Texan bounced back to strike out Ed Kranepool and Jorgensen .

Hooton's 15 strikeouts en route to his first major league win tied Dick Drott's 14-year-old club record.

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