Three days after the historical Paul Henderson goal in 1972 that secured a Canadian victory in the Summit Series, history was made at Jarry Park in Montreal.On October 2, 1972, Bill Stoneman pitched the first no-hitter on International soil defeating the New York Mets 7-0. I spoke with Bill about that fateful day almost 40 years later.
“You know this is the first time I’ve ever connected the dates between my no-hitter with the Paul Henderson goal,”Stoneman commented. No question I remember the ’72 Series, we talked about in the Expos clubhouse and I remember the Eighth game was not played at it’s typical time (afternoon EST). I know Ken Singleton was a fan as well.
“A lot of us came to the Expos around ’69 and growing up in the States, many of us didn’t didn’t know a lot about hockey. During that time, a number of guys bought skates and we got to know several of the Montreal Canadiens. I remember Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Doug Risebrough and met Jean Beliveau, who was such a classy guy. I also remember golfing with Yvan Cournoyer and man, he could hit a golf ball! I knew John Ferguson very well. He was a lot different off the ice then when he was playing.A very bright guy and a keen business sense.”
“As we got better at skating, the Canadiens gave us a bunch of sticks so we could play some shinny. Often we’d play outside, so we’d have to shovel the snow off the ice. A few times we’d get access to ice and play at two in the morning. I’m not sure the Expos management knew we were playing, but my guess is that they wouldn’t be that pleased.”
This was Stoneman’s second career no-hitter after beating Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 at Connie Mack Stadium.His first no-hitter occurred during his fifth career start and it was only the ninth game of the Expos existence.
Stoneman had an eight year career with Chicago, Montreal and the California Angels. He was the general manager of the Angels for eight seasons and now serves as a senior consultant.
“During the second no-hitter, I can recall the fans at Jarry Park getting louder and louder as the game went on. Generally, you block those things out of your mind when you’re pitching, but I certainly recall that.” Stoneman shared.
“Two things made that came that game additionally special for me. One it was played in front of our fans who supported us very well and secondly, my wife and two younger brothers were in attendance. It was the only summer that they had visited us and they were 11 and 15 at that time.”
“During my time in Montreal, 10-12 of us would spend the winters in Montreal. When I think about the ’72 Summit Series, I know we were excited about the outcome even though none of us were Canadians, Stoneman commented.