This Friday marks the 25th anniversary of Dave Righetti’s 138 pitch no-hitter against the Red Sox, the first no-no at Yankee Stadium since Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1965 World Series. Currently toiling as pitching coach for the SF Giants, Righetti sat down with the San Jose Mercury News’ Daniel Brown to review his most famous accomplishment.
Watching the videotape, Righetti points to a famous fan: Richard Nixon, applauding enthusiastically from a private booth. The former president was borrowing the owner’s suite for the day; Steinbrenner had chosen to spend his birthday with family in Tampa, Fla.
Nixon later wrote a letter that hangs today in Righetti’s home: “The Yankees are lucky to have you and you are fortunate to be so young and so talented. I wish you the best in the good years ahead.”
Chuck Mangione, who had performed the national anthem, returned to give Righetti a personal fluegelhorn serenade in the dugout. More well wishes poured in for weeks. A senator – Righetti thinks it was Alfonse D’Amato – sent him the flag that was flying at the New York statehouse that day. Righetti gave out gifts of his own, including rings and autographed photos of the scene on the mound to his teammates.
The pitcher signed a ball for Steve Palermo, with the inscription, “I hope you weren’t as nervous as I was.”
Righetti’s cap from the game now resides at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with a ball and two ticket stubs.
Boggs is there, too, of course. He finished his career with 3,010 hits. But he still hasn’t forgotten the 0-for-4 he endured a quarter-century ago. He once whined to Righetti about his two hard-hit drives that ended up in the glove of center fielder Dave Winfield.
“I said, ‘Boggsy, you’re going to the Hall of Fame,’ ” Righetti says. ” ‘Can I have my moment, please?’ “