'72 Project Nostalgia: Montreal Expos Bill Stoneman Throws No-Hitter Days after Henderson Goal
Three days after the historical Paul
Henderson goal in 1972 that secured a Canadian victory in the Summit Series,
history was made at Jarry Park in Montreal.On October 2, 1972, Bill Stoneman
pitched the first no-hitter on International soil defeating the New York Mets
7-0. I spoke with Bill about that fateful day almost 40 years later.
"You know this is the first time
I've ever connected the dates between my no-hitter with the Paul Henderson
goal," Stoneman commented. No question I remember the '72 Series, we talked
about in the Expos clubhouse and I remember the Eighth game was not played at
it's typical time (afternoon EST).
"A lot of us came to the Expos
around '69 and growing up in the States, many of us didn't didn't know a lot
about hockey. During that time, a number of guys bought skates and we got to
know several of the Montreal Canadiens. I remember Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe,
Doug Risebrough and met Jean Beliveau, who was such a classy guy. I also
remember golfing with Yvan Cournoyer and man, he could hit a golf ball! I knew
John Ferguson very well. He was a lot different off the ice then when he was
playing.A very bright guy and a keen business sense."
"As we got better at skating, the
Canadiens gave us a bunch of sticks so we could play some shinny. Often we'd
play outside, so we'd have to shovel the snow off the ice. A few times we'd get
access to ice and play at two in the morning. I'm not sure the Expos management
knew we were playing, but my guess is that they wouldn't be that
This was Stoneman's second career
no-hitter after beating Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 at Connie Mack Stadium. His
first no-hitter occurred during his fifth career start and it was only the ninth
game of the Expos existence.
Stoneman had an eight year career
with Chicago, Montreal and the California Angels. He was the general manager of
the Angels for eight seasons and now serves as a senior consultant.
"During the second no-hitter, I can
recall the fans at Jarry Park getting louder and louder as the game went on.
Generally, you block those things out of your mind when you're pitching, but I
certainly recall that," Stoneman shared.
"Two things made that came that
game additionally special for me. One it was played in front of our fans who
supported us very well and secondly, my wife and two younger brothers were in
attendance. It was the only summer that they had visited us and they were 11 and
15 at that time."
"During my time in Montreal, 10-12
of us would spend the winters in Montreal. When I think about the '72 Summit
Series, I know we were excited about the outcome even though none of us were
Canadiens, Stoneman commented.