Johnny Vander Meer, the Cincinnati Reds' pitcher who threw the only back-to-back no-hitters in major-league history during an otherwise average career, died at age 82. Vander Meer died of an abdominal aneurysm at his Tampa home.
Vander Meer wrote his name into baseball lore during a five-day span in which he earned his nickname, "Double No-Hit." The left-hander tossed his first no-hitter on June 11, 1938, beating the Boston Braves, 3-0. Four days later in Brooklyn, he no-hit the Dodgers, 6-0.
His lifetime statistics were only ordinary. He pitched for Cincinnati from 1937-49, with two years out for military service during World War II. He finished with the Chicago Cubs in 1950 and the Cleveland Indians in 1951. His career record was 119 victories and 121 losses with an earned run average of 3.44. In 1938, the year of the double no-hitters, he was 15-10 with a 3.12 ERA.
The sports world lost two others over the weekend as well. George Barclay, the first football player at North Carolina to be selected a first-team All-American and head coach of the Tar Heels from 1953-55, died of heart failure in Asheville, N.C. at 87. In Bloomington, Minn., 35-year-old professional wrestler Brian Pillman, a former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker, was found dead in a hotel room after a match at the St. Paul Civic Center. Authorities would not say if they suspected foul play.