Ian Snell started the 2005 season on a tear, the 24-year-old righty recording a win in each of his first nine decisions for the Indianapolis Indians.
One of those victories towered above the rest. On May 15, Snell turned in the best Single-Game Performance in the Minor Leagues in 2005: a no-hitter at home to lead the Indians to a 4-0 victory over the Norfolk Tides.
Snell's gem, which also won the award for best Single-Game Performance at the Triple-A level, was a truly dominating outing. The Pirates farmhand recorded a season-high nine strikeouts and allowed just one batter to reach base, a fifth-inning walk to Ron Calloway.
For some perspective on just how rare Snell's accomplishment was, consider this -- the last Indians' pitcher to toss a no-no was Tommy Carroll, who accomplished the feat in 1974. The last time it happened in Indianapolis was in 1959.
Snell humbly deflected some of the credit to his outfield, which played spectacular defense throughout the day. "(Left fielder Jon) Nunnally, (center fielder Chris) Duffy and (right fielder Graham) Koonce all made awesome catches," he told ESPN Radio after the game. "It's really an honor to have those guys on my team."
Nunnally provided the bulk of the offense as well, a three-run homer in the second inning that allowed Snell to work with a lead most of the afternoon.
For Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett, one of the most impressive aspects of Snell's outing was the quality of the team he no-hit.
"There was nothing cheap about it," Jewett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He pitched it against what I consider the second-best hitting team in the league. Norfolk has some veteran hitters -- Brian Daubach, Gerald Williams, Benji Gil. It was a great performance."
It was also an opportunity for Snell to silence his critics, as some people have voiced concern that at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds he won't have the power to make it as a Major League starter.
"Ian had amazing stuff," Indians pitching coach Darold Knowles told the Post-Gazette. "He seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He kept his velocity in the mid-90s the entire afternoon. Not too many guys have that kind of stamina."
"People can say what they want. Size doesn't matter," Snell remarked after the game. "I guess I've proven that already."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.