- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Take it from Kenny Reitz: He was definitely not taking one for the team.

There hasn’t been a no-hitter at Busch Stadium, old or new, home team or visitor, since 1983 when Bob Forsch notched his second no-no.

If you think that’s a long wait, Forsch’s first career no-hitter in 1978 ended a 54-year drought on the St. Louis Cardinals’ home field. And conspiracy theorists will forever believe it’s tainted.

Reitz, slow afoot but known for his prowess at third base in the AstroTurf era, was charged with a fielding error on a hard-hit grounder in the eighth inning by the Phillies’ Garry Maddox that scooted under his glove. Thirty-six years later, the memory remains fresh.

Though he’d been caught by surprise, anticipating a high, true hop on the ersatz grass, Reitz maintains it’s a play he makes 99 times out of 100.

“It was probably two feet to my left and I got to it, but it stayed down,” Reitz said in a recent interview with The Associated Press as the Cardinals were wrapping up a trip to the postseason. “I thought it was an error all the way. I just came up like I normally would and it didn’t come up with me.”

Reitz had been playing in so Maddox wouldn’t bunt in an effort to break up the no-hitter, which was more of an acceptable tactic then.

Official scorer Neal Russo didn’t hesitate to call it an error, saying: “It was an ordinary play, maybe a step to Reitz’s left. There was no doubt in my mind.”

According to STATS, only the Cubs (1972) and Brewers (1974) have gone longer without a no-hitter at home. Milt Pappas dominated the Padres for the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field on Sept. 2, 1972. The last no-no in Milwaukee was June 19, 1974, by the Royals’ Steve Busby at old County Stadium.

No one has a good explanation why the NL Central has the top three destinations.

The Mets had been No. 1 on the list before Johan Santana no-hit the Cardinals in 2012 for the first in their home ballpark since the Pirates’ Bob Moose did it in 1969. The latest one has an asterisk, too, with Carlos Beltran’s drive to left stirring up chalk but ruled foul.

The Cardinals had a pair of road no-hitters during Tony La Russa’s 16 seasons as manager from 1995-2011 - in 2001 by Bud Smith at San Diego and in 1999 by Jose Jimenez at Los Angeles.

But Forsch’s no-hitter 31 years ago was the Cardinals’ first at home since Jesse Haines beat the Braves on July 17, 1924, with Casey Stengel making the last out.

Rookie Michael Wacha took his bid to the final out against the Nationals in a playoff tuneup last September before Ryan Zimmerman bounced an infield hit just beyond the 6-foot-7 pitcher’s outstretched glove.

“I thought for sure he was going to pitch a no-hitter,” fellow rookie starter Shelby Miller said. “He was locked in, throwing great pitches all day. I’m sure he wasn’t happy giving it up.”

Official scorer Gary Mueller is in his 15th season in St. Louis. Sooner or later, he’ll say about a no-hitter here.

“Maybe tomorrow,” he says.

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