“It is a great honor to be in the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. From the days of playing in my backyard through high school to the major leagues, Sacramento has always meant so much to me. I am so honored to be associated with tremendous talent we have always had in Sacramento”
Major League Baseball
High School: Hiram Johnson
College: Sacramento City, Oregon State University
* MLB Career: 16 Years (Houston, California)
* 2 Time All-Star Selection (1976, 1981)
* No-Hitter Pitched (1979)
* 114 Career Wins
* 3.37 Career ERA
* 1,047 Career Strikeouts
Ken Forsch was one of the first great pitchers from Sacramento and is one-half of the greatest brother pitching tandems from Sacramento. Growing up, his father was instrumental in developing his sons’ careers. He started by introducing them to the game of baseball at an early age. He even built a baseball diamond and added batting cages for them and their friends in the backyard of their home.
Ken was the oldest and the first to have success: dominating hitters as early as Fruitridge Little League where opponents were literally afraid to get in the batter’s box against the big right hander. His blazing fastball led him to become the ace of the pitching staff at Hiram Johnson High School. He continued his dominating ways at Sacramento City College, playing both baseball and basketball. He was soon offered a scholarship to Oregon State University and continued his baseball excellence until he was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 18th round. Despite being four years apart, Ken and his brother, Bob, were both drafted in the same 1968 draft.
Ken began his big league career on September 7, 1970 where he won his first major league start with a complete game victory over the San Diego Padres. He had amazing pinpoint control to go along with his fastball. He had seven seasons where his Earned Run Average was below 3.00. He had a minimum of 10 victories in six straight seasons between 1978 -1983.
On April 7, 1979, Ken pitched a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves defeating them 6-0 at the Astrodome. It was the earliest no-hitter in baseball history. A year earlier, Bob also threw a no-hitter: putting them in the record books as the only set of brothers to throw no-hit games in Major League Baseball history. During his career he led the league in several distinguished categories. In 1979, Ken led the National League in both WHIP (1.069) and fewest Walks per 9 Innings Pitched (1.77). He was in the top 10 for each of these four times during his career. In 1981, he led the American League in Shutouts, and was in the top 10 three times during his career. Ken holds another unique record. On July 14, 1978, he pitched both games of a double header in relief appearances against the Montreal Expos and was the winning pitcher in each game: making him the first Astros pitcher to accomplish that feat.
Ken spent 11 seasons with Houston and was part of the most feared starting rotations in all of baseball; featuring Nolan Ryan, JR Richard, Joe Niekro and Ken Forsch. Ken was traded to the Angels in 1981. That year, he led the American League in shutouts, and was in the top 10 three times during his career. He was one of the most consistent and accurate pitchers of his time. During his 16 seasons, Ken won 114 games, had 1,047 strikeouts and a 3.37 earned run average. He was recognized for his outstanding abilities by being named an All-Star selection twice: in 1976 and 1981.
After retiring from the game, he joined the Angels front office in 1994. In 1998, Ken was named Assistant General Manager where he held that title for 14 years and was instrumental in the team’s success including six playoff appearances and a World Series title. Ken thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Angels front offices and refers to it as, “some of the best times in my career.”
Ken had a long and successful career. He led the way to establishing Sacramento as a hot bed for major league talent. Both he and his brother, Bob, had numerous accomplishments and are considered one of the best pitching tandems in baseball history. Their success brought attention to our city and paved the way for others to make their mark in the major leagues.
Today, Ken is retired and lives with his wife, Jonnye, in Anaheim. They enjoy time with family and friends, and being grandparents. Ken will always be known as one of the greatest Major League pitchers to come from Sacramento; and along with Bob, established the Forsch family name in baseball history.