APRIL 29, 1907: Punahou’s Johnny Williams throws no-hitter

Honolulu Johnny Williams

On this day in 1907, Punahou and Kamehameha opened the interscholastic season with a quick 4-0 victory over Kamehameha.

Future major leaguer Johnny Williams pitched a no-hitter with nine strikeouts and the game lasted only 90 minutes. He faced only 29 batters. Lo An backed him with a home run in the eighth inning.

Williams pitched four innings for the Detroit Tigers in 1914, but legend has it that teammate Ty Cobb didn’t want to play with him because of his dark skin but that seems to be just lore. Other rumors held that he contacted malaria, another cited his invention of the ‘sore armed curve ball,’ and another posited that the Michigan weather drove him to a warmer climate.

The highlight of his brief career in Detroit included a loss to Washington Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, matching him with seven scoreless innings before losing 3-0 when his team betrayed him with errors.

‘Honolulu Johnny’ is still credited as the first man of part Pacific Islander ancestry to play in the big leagues. He died in 1963 in California.


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