Who is the Only Man to Pitch AND Umpire a No-Hitter?

Think you know everything about baseball? Consider yourself the Babe Ruth of baseball trivia? Okay, here’s one for you. (If you’ve already read the title, you can skip this part.) Name the only man to both pitch and umpire a no-hitter? And no, it wasn’t the same game. Give up? Okay, the only man to both pitch and umpire a no-hitter was Bill Dineen.

As a pitcher, Bill Dineen was not exactly Cy Young. His lifetime record was 171-177, but as with many baseball statistics, those numbers are deceiving. For one thing, Bill Dineen won 20 games in a season four different times. Several Hall of Fame pitchers cannot boast of accomplishing that. In addition, Dineen managed to win three games in the very first World Series ever played. And then there was that no-hitter. A no-hitter is still rarefied enough to count as one of the most impressive feats in all of sports. To pitch a no-hitter one has to count on competent fielding and other good defensive plays, but as Nolan Ryan’s multiple no-hitters prove, a great team isn’t a necessity for a great pitcher to send 27 out of 28 or so guys down. Bill Dineen, for all we know, may have been the Nolan Ryan of his day. Remember, Nolan Ryan recorded 324 wins. That’s great, sure, but he was only eight losses away from having 300 losses to go with them. Forget Bill Dineen’s less than stellar win-loss record and remember that not only did he toss a no-no, but at one point he went an astonishing 337 consecutive innings without relief. Try to find a pitcher today that can point to more than 25 innings without benefit of a relief pitcher.

Bill Dineen retired as a pitcher and turned into an umpire barely two weeks later. As an umpire, Bill Dineen didn’t just call balls and strikes for one no-hitter, he was there for no less than five different no-hit games and came very close to overseeing a sixth. His presence in baseball games of note went beyond a bunch of guys walking up to the plate and then back to the dugout. Bill Dineen was also in the game wearing the dark suit when Bill Wambsganss managed something even more rare than a no-hitter: the unassisted triple play. And that was in a World Series game. Dineen was also the guy behind the plate in 1912 when the Detroit Tigers staged a one-game protest over what they considered to be the unfair suspension of baseball’s second biggest jerk, Ty Cobb. (Pete Rose being baseball’s biggest jerk, of course.)