Pete Dowling

From BR Bullpen

Pete Dowling.jpg

Henry James Peter Dowling

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 165 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pete Dowling was a pitcher with the Louisville Colonels in the days of Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner. He was a rookie with the Colonels in 1897 at the same time that Honus was a rookie.

Dowling pitched in 117 games over 4 seasons, with a record of 39-65. His ERA of 3.87 was a bit below average, but not much.

Louisville closed up shop in 1899, and unlike Honus and Fred, Pete didn't make it to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900. He did appear, however, in the brand-new American League in 1901, first with the Milwaukee Brewers for 10 games and then for the Cleveland Blues for 33 games after being sold to them on June 1st. Although he was second on the team in victories for Cleveland, he did not come back the following year.

On June 30th, he pitched a 7-0 no-hitter for Cleveland against Milwaukee, which was the first one in American League history, but it was largely forgotten and left off most lists of no-hitters because of a controversial play in the bottom of the 7th inning. According to newspaper reports of the game, Wid Conroy of Milwaukee managed a hit by smoking a ball to third baseman Bill Bradley, who could not handle it cleanly. However, the official scorer later changed his decision from a single to an error on Bradley, but too late for most game reports to pick up the change, and there is no evidence that any of the papers ever printed a correction and everyone afterwards treated the game as a one-hitter. Only Milwaukee papers correctly reported the game as a no-hitter, but this was not picked off further afield, and Dowling's feat was omitted from most lists of official no-hitters from that point forward. One exception was the seminal 1969 edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia, which indicated the feat under Dowling's name, but subsequent editions included instead a list of all major league no-hitters - without Dowling's name making it to the list. This was a result of the Encyclopedia walking back some of the changes in the official record it had discovered, due to backlash from some traditionalists. It took over a generation from that attitude to die off, and by the 21st century, when Retrosheet got around to releasing the box scores from games from the 1901 season, there was no denying the evidence: Dowling's gem was indeed a no-hitter and the record had to be adjusted. Therefore all evidence points to Dowling, and not Nixey Callahan, holding the honor of having pitched the first no-hitter in American League history.

His lifetime batting average was .199.

One article says that Connie Mack signed Dowling to a contract with the 1900 Milwaukee Brewers, and that Dowling had previously had troubles with drinking too much. It also says that he pitched a no-hitter for the team in 1900, but in 1901 was dropped from the team for disciplinary reasons.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1898, 1899 & 1901)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1901)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gary Belleville: "June 30, 1901: Cleveland’s Pete Dowling tosses the American League’s first no-hitter — or does he?", SABR Games Project. [1]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "He got his no-hitter, 119 years after throwing it: Dowling's 1901 gem now recognized as no-no by Retrosheet",, December 17, 2020. [2]

Related Sites[edit]