CINCINNATI — Homer Bailey didn’t have much time Tuesday night to celebrate his second career no-hitter. He had to get up early Wednesday to tend to his horses.
Cincinnati’s Texas-born right-hander celebrated his no-no against San Francisco by calling his family while listening to music, he said. He also spent time answering more than 200 text messages from former teammates and current and former major-leaguers – including fellow Texan Roger Clemens – while squeezing in a visit to the two horses he stables locally.
“I had to get up pretty early,” he said about his low-key celebration while speaking to the media at his cubicle in the Reds’ clubhouse before Wednesday night’s game against the Giants.
Former teammates who reached out to Bailey included pitchers Aaron Harang and Kent Mercker and outfielder Laynce Nix, he said, adding that Clemens, a special instructor in Houston’s system, said he was going to show his pitchers a video of Bailey’s performance.
“He said, ‘Your mechanics and direction were good,’” Bailey said, quoting Clemens. “I said, ‘Go ahead. They’re not in our division anymore.’”
Houston was a Reds opponent in the NL Central before shifting to the American League this season.
Bailey hadn’t seen any highlights of his performance, the 16th no-hitter in franchise history.
“I had the best seat in the house,” he pointed out. “I didn’t need to watch TV. (High definition) can’t do justice to where I was standing.
“When I talked to my dad, the first thing he said was, ‘How’d it go tonight? I recorded it and haven’t had time to watch it yet,’” Bailey added, smiling. “He was joking.”
Bailey did not hear from his idol, Nolan Ryan – another hard-throwing Texas right-hander and the owner of a major-league record seven no-hitters.
Ryan, now president of the Texas Rangers, was the last pitcher before Bailey to throw two consecutive no-hitters before another pitcher accomplished the feat. Ryan threw the last no-hitter in 1974 and the first in 1975.
Bailey’s next scheduled start is Sunday against Seattle in Cincinnati, the same city where Reds left-hander Johnny Vander Meer threw the first of his two no-hitters in consecutive starts in 1938. Bailey doesn’t like his chances of matching Vander Meer, who threw the second no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the first night game at Ebbetts Field.
“It’s happened once,” Bailey pointed out. “There aren’t too many things in the history of baseball that have happened only once. You can’t go into the game thinking about it. The first guy will probably get a hit, and that will be the end of it. Let me put it this way – If I were a better man, and I’m not, I wouldn’t bet on it.”