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J. Edgar Hoover’s letter to no-no king Johnny Vander Meer

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How's this for total control? J. Edgar Hoover even kept tabs on Johnny Vander Meer, sending the left-hander a congratulatory note shortly after Vander Meer threw a second consecutive no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds in 1938.

Bill Francis, a library associate with baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., recently found the letter in a file (of course) while researching Vander Meer's life. Though injuries and World War II got in the way of Vander Meer having an even greater career, he's still the only pitcher in history to record no-nos in back-to-back appearances. It might be an even tougher record to beat than Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.

As Francis posts, the infamous director of the FBI took notice of the rarest feat:

In the letter, typed on the chief G-Man's letterhead and dated June 17, 1938, Hoover writes, "I did have time to glance at the sports page of one of the Miami papers and read the account of the thrilling no-hit game which you pitched against the Boston Bees, and then when I read of your second no-hit game in five days I simply could not resist dropping you this note to extend you my congratulations on this remarkable feat."

(The "Bees" were a nickname for the Boston Braves, by the way. And the second game — which included eight walks — came against the Brooklyn Dodgers.) As Eric Seidman of Hardball Times pointed out, Vander Meer also received praise from Franklin Roosevelt and from Boston coach Babe Ruth (a childhood idol of Vander Meer's) along the way.

The President of the United States, OK. Babe Ruth, OK.

But Hoover? {YSP:MORE}

Not only did Hoover take a few moments from his schedule (which included a Lindbergh Baby-esque kidnapping) to salute Vander Meer, but he also couldn't resist telling him how good the Bureau's baseball team was. Really.

I thought you might be interested in knowing that last year the Federal Bureau of Investigation Baseball Team won the U.S. Government League championship, and and has been going very well this year, although unfortunately, we do not have any Johnny Vander Meers who are able to turn in two no-hit games within five days.

You don't say, Mr. Director. Hoover was obviously proud, but he's also going a little Warden Hazen on Vander Meer, almost recruiting him like Eddie Albert did with Burt Reynolds in "The Longest Yard."

I also like, near the end of the note, how Hoover hopes to see Vander Meer pitch "a third" no-hitter during the '38 season when the Reds return to the New York area to play the Giants or the "Brooklyn club." A third?! Put pressure on the guy, why don't you? Also, notice how Hoover can bring himself to say "Reds" but not "Dodgers."

It does not appear that the two men ever met. Regardless, if a supposed Hoover-Vander Meer interaction isn't in Clint Eastwood's film "J. Edgar," I'm just going to wait and rent it.

One other note, of which Hoover did not appear to realize: He assumed control of the FBI on June 15, 1924 — 14 years to the day that Vander Meer tossed no-hitter No. 2.

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave — and get to know The Stew on Facebook.

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