John Smoltz tells great story about his failed no-hitter and a Zagnut bar
John Smoltz on Wednesday night shared a great story about the closest he came to throwing a no-hitter.
Smoltz was in MLB Network’s studios providing commentary as Zack Greinke took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Seattle Mariners. Greinke allowed a hit with one out in the ninth and fell short, much like Smoltz did in 1990.
The former Cy Young Award winner told the story after Greinke’s no-hitter was broken up.
“I just had a stupid Zagnut bar that got me in the way of a no-hitter,” Smoltz said. “I’ve never had a Zagnut since.”
Smoltz, who was 23 at the time and only in his third MLB season, went on to say that he was trying to learn a routine for pitching on gameday. Another pitcher advised him to pitch on an empty stomach. The Braves were playing the Phillies that day at 1:00 pm, so in order to have an empty stomach, Smoltz did not eat at all prior to the game.
“I figured I just won’t eat so I’ll be on an empty stomach. I wake up, go to the park … I got a no-hitter going through the eighth, on an empty stomach. And I think I’m going to pass out. So I go up in the clubhouse and the first thing I saw was a Zagnut, so I crush it real quick. And one out in the ninth, I give up a 2-0 base hit to Lenny Dykstra, and I haven’t had a Zagnut since,” Smoltz said.
He was right on. According to Baseball-Reference.com, the game was on May 27 and began at 1:35 pm. Smoltz had a no-hitter through 8.1 innings before allowing a 1-0 double to Dykstra. Von Hayes delivered an RBI single two batters later to get the Phillies on the board. Smoltz finished with a complete game win with eight strikeouts.
“I got what I needed, but I didn’t get the result I wanted. I was going to pass out; anything I was going to eat was going to be satisfying,” he said.
I’d never heard of a Zagnut bar prior to Smoltz’s story. Now I know why.
Smoltz made eight All-Star teams, won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996, was the 1992 NLCS MVP, and won a World Series. He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But he never threw a no-hitter, and he’s still holding a grudge against Zagnut bars as a result.