#Cubs Deshaies recalls 8 K anniversary

On Sept. 23, 1986, Jim Deshaies started for the Houston Astros in what turned out to be a record-breaking day. Deshaies, now the analyst on the Cubs television broadcasts, struck out the first eight batters he faced, and finished with a complete game two-hitter in a win over the Dodgers.

“It’s September of ’86, and we’re on the verge of clinching a division that we weren’t supposed to win and there was a
great vibe going on in Houston,” Deshaies said Wednesday on the anniversary of his event. “I had missed my previous start with a tender elbow, I believe. By some twist of fate, I struck out the first eight guys in the ballgame.

“The best story associated with that is what happened the next two days,” Deshaies said. “I go complete game, two-hitter, strike out the first eight. So for one day, I’m kind of like the hero. Next day, Nolan [Ryan] comes out, eight innings of one-hit ball, and strikes out 14. I think Charlie Kerfeld pitched the ninth.

“That night, after the game, I’m shaving next to Alan Ashby, and I make some crack to Ashby, ‘Geez, you think Nolan, with
all that he’s accomplished, would let me have the limelight for more than 24 hours.’ And I swear to God this is true, Ashby
says, ‘Well, I’ve got a feeling Scotty will show you both up,’ and Mike [Scott] comes out the next day and throws a no-
hitter to clinch the division, so we go two-hitter, one-hitter, no-hitter in three days and Mike’s no-hitter is over the
Giants. [Ashby] was very prophetic.”

Was one pitching working for Deshaies that day?

“I threw high fastballs,” he said. “I wasn’t a hard thrower, but I had deception and a sneaky fastball. I used to throw a lot of high fastballs and have swings and misses up there. When I had good games, that was my best pitch. The more memorable sequence was Pedro Guerrero had a long at-bat — I think double-digit pitches at-bat. He kept fouling pitches off. I finally struck him out looking. I finally threw him a change up on 3-2, and he took it. It was called a strike — it was probably a ball. Dave Pallone was the [home plate] umpire. He had a pretty generous zone, so that helped. The other thing is I finished with 10 strikeouts. I had eight in a row to start the game and only ended up with 10.”

Does he celebrate the anniversary of his record eight Ks to start a game?

“My wife [Lori] actually wished me happy anniversary today,” Deshaies said. “Every now and then I’ll get a text. I got a text from an old teammate today, Jimmy Pankovits. As long as we were teammates the rest of that year, every game, once somebody put the ball in play, he’d come down and give me a high five and say, ‘OK, your record is safe.'”

Last year, the Met’s Jacob deGrom tied the mark with 8 straight Ks to open a game.

“It’s OK that it’s tied,” Deshaies said. “The ninth guy for me popped up. His ninth guy was the pitcher who got a base hit.
So I claim tiebreaker status, however, he did go on to win the Rookie of the Year. He may have a more legitimate claim to
tiebreaker.”

— Carrie Muskat

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