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OTHER NO-HIT LOSER KNOWS THE FEELING

SHARE OTHER NO-HIT LOSER KNOWS THE FEELING

Ken Johnson, who charted unknown territory in 1964, had to admit that Andy Hawkins went him one better.

"Four-nothing. Boy, that's rough. I only lost 1-0," said Johnson, who until Sunday was the only pitcher in baseball history to throw a complete-game no-hitter and lose.Johnson, a right-hander with the Houston Colt .45s, was beaten on April 23, 1964, by the Cincinnati Reds, who converted two errors into the only run of the game. Hawkins' New York Yankees lost 4-0 to the Chicago White Sox, who made the most of two walks, an infield error and two dropped fly balls.

"I'm sure the first thought he's got is what I thought. They don't pay you to lose, you're paid to win," Johnson said. "You hate to lose any time."

There will come a time, Johnson predicted, when Hawkins can recall this day with pride.

"Now when I look back at it, I don't look at it as a loss. I look at it as quite a feat," Johnson said. "Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning and Ken Johnson were the only ones to pitch no-hitters that year."

Johnson, like Hawkins, lost because of mistakes.

"Yeah, I remember," Johnson said with a laugh. "I made one of the errors. Pete Rose bunted and I fielded the ball and threw it past first and he went to second. Then he went to third on a groundout and scored on an error by Nellie Fox. And I lost 1-0.

"I remember the feeling I had. I remember the guys coming by and patting me on the back and telling me I'd done a good job, and I said, `Heck, I just threw a no-hitter and got beat.' "

Hawkins would certainly hope his career doesn't continue to parallel Johnson's.

"What was really tough when I was at Houston, I'd win seven and lose 16, win 11 and lose 17, win 11 and lose 16," Johnson said. "One year, I tied Don Drysdale with a 2.65 earned-run average, about seventh in the league, and Drysdale wins 23 games and I win 11."

In those days, Houston was a fledgling expansion franchise, trying to make do with players unwanted by other teams. Scoring runs was always a problem, especially when Johnson was throwing.

"They used to say, `Poor ol' Ken Johnson, they never score any runs for him.' I remember one game against the Phillies, they had a "Runs for Johnson Night," and any woman with a run in her stocking got in free.

"And Jim Bunning beat us with a one-hitter."

Johnson, a native of West Palm Beach, Fla., left baseball after the 1970 season with a record of 91-106 and a respectable 3.46 ERA.