Welcome, Andy Hawkins. Ken Johnson has been saving a place for you for 26 years.
"I'm sorry to hear he joined me. I was very happy being the only man to lose a no-hitter" in a nine-inning game, Johnson said Sunday after learning that Hawkins threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees, only to lose, 4-0, because of three errors in the eighth inning.
"I'm sorry he had to lose it. Now we're a group of two."
Johnson was a talented but hard-luck right-hander for the fledgling Houston Colt 45s -- now the Astros -- when he no-hit the Cincinnati Reds on April 23, 1964. He lost by 1-0, thanks to two errors.
"Yeah, I remember," Johnson said with a chuckle. "I made one of the errors. Pete Rose bunted and I fielded the ball and threw it past first and he went to second. Then he went to third on a groundout and scored on an error by Nellie Fox. And I lost, 1-0.
"I remember the feeling I had. I remember the guys coming by and patting me on the back and telling me I'd done a good job, and I said, 'Heck, I just threw a no-hitter and got beat.'
"Now when I look back at it, I don't look at it as a loss. I look at it as quite a feat. Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning and Ken Johnson were the only ones to pitch no-hitters that year."
Johnson said losing the no-hitter didn't hurt for long. Given the way his career went, he courted disappointment every time he pitched.
"What was really tough when I was at Houston, I'd win seven and lose 16, win 11 and lose 17, win 11 and lose 16. One year I tied Don Drysdale with a 2.65 earned run average, about seventh in the league, and Drysdale wins 23 games and I win 11.
"They used to say, 'Poor ol' Ken Johnson, they never score any runs for him.' I remember one game against the Phillies, they had a 'Runs for Johnson Night,' and any woman with a run in her stocking got in free.
"And Jim Bunning beat us with a one-hitter."
After leaving baseball in 1970, Johnson returned to his hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla. He and wife, Lynn, eventually moved to Pineville, La., where sons Ken Jr. and Russell and daughter Janet attended Louisiana College.
"The athletic director and basketball coach and baseball coach at that time was all one man, Billy Algood, whose been here 30-some years, and one year I kind of asked him if he needed any help, and he said yes."
He's been a coach with the baseball team for 10 years.
"I'm semi-retired now," said Johnson, 57. "I'm still an assistant coach and I fish a lot."
And, he noted, his bad luck in baseball hasn't carried over to fishing.
"I caught my limit of bass the other day."