53 Years Later, Astros Fans Still Remember Don Wilson’s No-Hitter
It's been more than 53 years now that the first no-hitter ever thrown in a domed stadium happened, but it comes with bittersweet memories for fans of the Houston Astros, and all of Major League Baseball.
Don Wilson, a Louisiana native threw one of his two career no-hitters on June 18, 50 years ago last Thursday, but his accomplishment will always be met with both fond and sad memories, as well as some unanswered questions about his tragic death.
Wilson, who was born in Monroe in 1945, although he was brought up in California, made his first appearance for the Houston Astros in 1966.
Over the span of the next nine years, Wilson went 104-92, with a 3.15 ERA. for the Astros, including two no-hitters.
The one that prompted me to write this took place on June 17, 1967, when Wilson no-hit the Atlanta Braves, in a 2-0 Houston triumph, becoming the first pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter in a domed stadium.
Wilson threw his second career no-hitter, in a 10-0 win over the Reds in 1969.
Although he was prone to wildness in his career, Wilson could really bring the fastball, accumulating 1,283 career strikeouts.
Wilson's #40 is retired by the Astros.
Sadly, Wilson’s career, and more importantly, life, was cut short on January 5, 1975, when he was found dead in the garage of his home.
Wilson’s car was running inside the garage, and he succumbed to the carbon monoxide poison coming from the fumes.
Just as tragically, his five-year-old son, Alex, also lost his life.
The deaths have been officially ruled accidental, but a little mystery still surrounds them
Below is video of Wilson pitching in the 1971 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, where he faces the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, and Harmon Killebrew:
It's been more than 45 years since Wilson's untimely passing, but his memory still lives on with Astros fans who had the privilege of watching him pitch.