I got to know Bill Stoneman a little when he was the Angels’ GM. But in his younger days, Bill was the ace of the Montreal Expos pitching staff. He was selected by the Expos from the Cubs in the 1968 expansion draft and in his 5th start and the Expos 9th game on April 17, 1969; he threw his and the Expos’ first no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies in old Connie Mack Stadium. He threw his second one against the New York Mets in old Jarry Park on October 2, 1972—the first ever no hitter thrown in Canada. Bill pitched for the Expos from 1969 until 1973 when he suffered an arm injury. He concluded his playing career with the Angels in 1974. But from 1969-1972, he was a workhorse and among the league leaders in innings pitched, strikeouts and complete games. Bill was not a good hitter, with a lifetime batting average of .129 who struck out 212 times in 338 at bats. After his playing career, he got involved in the Expos front office and became the Angels GM in 1999. He hired Mike Scioscia as the Angels manager and presided over the 2002 Angels World Championship and subsequent ownership transition from Disney to Arte Moreno. He stepped down as the Angels GM in 2007. Here is his Opening Day memory.
1972 was the first ever players strike that cost any time during the season. I was training with the Expos in West Palm Beach. We broke off with maybe a week to go, or so, before the season started. Everybody went home from spring training because the players went on strike, and I didn’t do a whole bunch until finally the strike was over. We worked out for a couple of days and then flew to St. Louis to open the season. I’m not sure of the exact date–it was April 15th or 20th, something like that–and I started against Bob Gibson and went nine, won the game and I was the only pitcher in major league baseball to go nine innings on that delayed Opening Day. That’s probably my most memorable Opening Day.
On that day, Bill pitched a complete game 3-2 victory over Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals.
See you in two. Richie