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A no-hitter (also known as a no-hit game, or colloquially, a "no-no") is a baseball game in which one team has no hit. In Major League Baseball, the team must be without hits during the entire game, and the game must be at least nine innings. A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter". Throwing a no-hitter is a rare accomplishment for a pitcher or pitching staff: only 263 have been thrown in Major League Baseball history since 1875, an average of about two per year. In most cases in MLB, no-hitters are recorded by a single pitcher who throws a complete game.

As it is possible to reach base without a hit (most commonly via a walk or error), a pitcher can throw a no-hitter and still lose the game, although this is extremely uncommon. A game in which a team allows no runners to reach base at all is a perfect game, as well as being a no-hitter and a shutout victory.

Major League Baseball

Definition

A no-hitter is defined by Major League Baseball as follows: "An official no-hit game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings."This definition was specified by MLB's Committee for Statistical Accuracy in 1991, causing previously recognized no-hitters of fewer than nine innings or where the first hit had been allowed in extra innings to be stricken from the official record books. Note games lost by the visiting team in 8 1/2 innings but without allowing any hits do not qualify as no-hitters, as the visiting team has only pitched eight innings.

Records

Frequency

There are 263 no-hitters officially recognized by Major League Baseball, between 1876 and 2009; only 18 of those were perfect games. Multiple no-hitters have been thrown on the same day twice: Ted Breitenstein and Jim Hughes on April 22, 1898; and Dave Stewart and Fernando Valenzuela on June 29, 1990.

The highest number of no-hitters thrown in a year is eight, in 1884. The most thrown in one year in the modern era (since 1901) is seven, in both 1990 and 1991, making for the most in any two-year span, with fourteen.

The longest period between any two no-hitters in the modern era is 3 years, 44 days between Bobby Burke on August 8, 1931, and Paul "Daffy" Dean on September 21, 1934. There was a drought of 3 years, 11 months without a no-hitter after the first National League no-hitter on July 15, 1876, pitched by George Bradley. The most recent year that did not have any no-hitters is 2005.

The most number of games played between any two no-hitters is 6,364, between Randy Johnson's perfect game on May 18, 2004 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Anibal Sánchez's no hitter on September 6, 2006 for the Florida Marlins. The previous record was a 4,015-game streak without a no-hitter from September 30, 1984, to September 19, 1986.

Individual

The pitcher who holds the record for the most no-hitters is Nolan Ryan, who threw seven in his long career and was regarded as the undisputed king of no-hitters. His first two came exactly two months apart, while he was with the California Angels: the first on May 15, 1973 and the second on July 15. He won two more with the Angels: September 28, 1974 and June 1, 1975. Ryan threw his fifth no-hitter with the Houston Astros on September 26, 1981, which broke Sandy Koufax's previous record. His sixth and seventh no-hitters came with the Texas Rangers on June 11, 1990, and May 1, 1991, respectively. When he tossed number seven at age 44, he was also the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter.

Only Nolan Ryan (seven), Sandy Koufax (four), Cy Young (three), Bob Feller (three), and Larry Corcoran (three) have pitched more than two no-hitters. Corcoran was the first pitcher to throw a second no-hitter in a career (in 1882), as well as the first to throw a third (in 1884).

Twenty-six men in all have thrown more than one no-hitter. Of these pitchers, Randy Johnson has the longest gap between no-hitters: Johnson threw a no-hitter as a member of the Seattle Mariners on June 2, 1990 and a perfect game as an Arizona Diamondback on May 18, 2004. The pitcher who holds the record for the shortest time between no-hitters is Johnny Vander Meer, as the only pitcher in history to throw no-hitters in two consecutive starts, while playing for the Cincinnati Reds in 1938.

Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees threw a no-hitter on September 4, 1993, defeating the Cleveland Indians, 4-0. Abbott is the second physically-disabled pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter.

Team

No team has thrown no-hitters in consecutive games, although it has happened once on consecutive days: On May 5, 1917, Ernie Koob of the St. Louis Browns no-hit the Chicago White Sox, and teammate Bob Groom repeated the feat in the second game of a doubleheader the following day. In 2008, the Chicago Cubs' Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Houston Astros on September 14, with teammate Ted Lilly giving up just one hit in the teams' next meeting the following day, September 15.

On two occasions, there have been back-to-back no-hitters thrown by each team in a series. On September 17, 1968, Gaylord Perry of the San Francisco Giants no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals, with the Cardinals' Ray Washburn no-hitting the Giants the following day. On April 30, 1969, Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds no-hit the Houston Astros, with the Astros' Don Wilson no-hitting the Reds the following day.

Catchers

The record for most no-hitters caught by a catcher is four by Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. He caught no-hitters for Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester.

Venue

Carlos Zambrano pitched the only no-hitter at a neutral site for the Chicago Cubs on September 14, 2008. The game, originally scheduled to be played in Houston, was played at Milwaukee's Miller Parkmarker because of Hurricane Ike.

Combined no-hitters

There have been nine combined no-hitters in MLB history; that is, when multiple pitchers collectively throw a no-hitter during a game. The first was on June 23, 1917, when Ernie Shore of the Boston Red Sox relieved the starting pitcher, Babe Ruth, who had been ejected for arguing with the umpire after walking the first batter of the game. The runner at first was caught attempting to steal second base, and Shore then consecutively retired the next 26 batters without allowing any baserunners. This game was long considered a perfect game by Shore, since he recorded 27 outs in succession, but is only a combined no-hitter under current rules. The second combined no-hitter did not occur until April 30, 1967, when Stu Miller recorded the final out in relief of Steve Barber.

The first, and only, combined extra inning no-hitter to date occurred on July 12, 1997, when the Pittsburgh Pirates' Francisco Cordova (9 innings) and Ricardo Rincon (1 inning) combined to no-hit the Houston Astros, 3-0. The extra inning no-no was capped off by a three run walk-off home run by pinch hitter Mark Smith in the bottom of the tenth inning.

The MLB record for pitchers combining to pitch a no-hitter is six, set by the Houston Astros against the New York Yankees on June 11, 2003. The pitchers were Roy Oswalt (the starting pitcher), then relievers Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner. Oswalt was pulled after one inning because of injury. Munro pitched the most innings, 2 2/3. He also allowed five of the six baserunners; three on walks, he also hit Jason Giambi with a pitch and another runner reached while he was in the game on an error by third baseman Geoff Blum. The other baserunner was allowed by Dotel who threw a third-strike wild pitch; Dotel ended up being credited with four strikeouts in 1 inning of work.

Only one pitcher, Mike Witt, has thrown a no-hitter as a starter, and also contributed to a no-hitter as a reliever. On September 30, 1984, Witt threw a 1-0 perfect game for the California Angels against the Texas Rangers. Witt followed this on April 11, 1990, with an appearance in relief of Mark Langston after 7 innings, pitching the last two innings to get the save in another 1-0 win for the Angels over the Seattle Mariners.

Opening Day, title-clinching, and post-season no-hitters

The Cleveland Indians' Bob Feller left the Chicago White Sox hitless in the 1940 season opener on April 16. This remains the only official Opening Day no-hitter to date.

No-hitters have twice been thrown on the final day of the season. On September 28, 1975, four Oakland Athletics pitchers (Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad, and Rollie Fingers) tossed a combined no-hitter against the California Angels. On September 30, 1984, Mike Witt of the Angels pitched a perfect game against the Texas Rangers.

The Houston Astros' Mike Scott no-hit the San Francisco Giants on September 25, 1986, a victory that also clinched the National League West title for the Astros; this is the only such coincidence in Major League history to date.

On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game in Game 5 of that year's World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Larsen is still the only person in Major League history to throw a no-hitter of any kind during a postseason game of any kind. The feat had nearly been accomplished nine years earlier by the Yankees' Bill Bevens, who came within one out of a no-hitter (though not a perfect game) against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series, only to lose the game on a pinch-hit double by Cookie Lavagetto. There have been other one-hitters in the World Series, with the lone hit coming earlier in the game than in Bevens' feat.

Rookie no-hitters

Twenty-one MLB rookies have pitched a no-hitter since 1901. Two pitchers have thrown a no-hitter in their first major league starts; two others have done it in their second major league starts.

Bumpus Jones of the Cincinnati Reds threw a no hitter on October 15, 1892 in his first major league game. Jones pitched only eight games in the big leagues, finishing with a career win/loss record of 2-4 and a career earned run average of 7.99.

Ted Breitenstein pitched a no-hitter in his first Major League start on October 4, 1891, however, it was not his first Major League game. He later threw a second no-hitter on April 22, 1898.

On May 6, 1953, Bobo Holloman pitched a no-hitter for the St. Louis Browns in his first major league start (also not his first major league game). This game would prove to be one of only three major league wins that Holloman achieved, against seven losses, all in 1953. Bill Veeck, then-owner of the Browns, in his autobiography described the 27 outs of Holloman's no-hitter as consisting of hard-hit ground balls, screaming line drives, and deep fly balls.

On August 11, 1991, Wilson Alvarez of the Chicago White Sox pitched a no-hitter in his second career major league start. During Alvarez's first career start, he had allowed three runs on a pair of home runs and did not retire a single batter. Unlike Jones and Holloman, Alvarez went on to win 102 games over a 16-year career.

On September 6, 2006, Anibal Sánchez threw a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins, winning 2-0 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Clay Buchholz pitched a no-hitter for the Boston Red Sox in his second major league start on September 1, 2007 at Fenway Park. The game ended in a 10-0 victory for the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles.

No-hitters in a losing cause

Unlike a perfect game, in which no batters reach base, in regular no-hitters batters can reach base in other ways, such as a walk, an error, or a hit batsman, and so it is possible to lose a no-hitter. On April 23, 1964, Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt .45s became the only pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter in nine innings when he was beaten 1-0 by Cincinnati. The winning run was scored by Pete Rose in the top of the ninth inning via an error, groundout, and another error. In 1967, Steve Barber and Stu Miller of the Baltimore Orioles pitched a combined no-hitter, but lost 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers. Also see "No-hitters thrown by visiting team during defeat".

Near no-hitters

Shortened no-hitters

A game that cannot continue due to weather or darkness may be considered a completed official game, as long as at least five innings have been completed. Until 1991, any such game in which a pitcher held the opposing team without hits was considered an official no-hitter; however under the current rule, a no-hitter must last for at least nine innings to count. As the rule was applied retroactively, thirty-six games in which a no-hitter was interrupted by weather or darkness, with lengths ranging from 5 to 8 innings, are no longer considered no-hitters.

No-hitters by defeated visiting team
In games where the home team leads after the top of the ninth, the visiting pitcher will only pitch 8 innings, and so can complete a full game without allowing a hit but not be credited with an official no-hitter. This has happened five times in MLB history: Silver King (1890), Andy Hawkins (1990), and Matt Young (1992) pitched complete games without allowing a hit, but pitched only 8 innings as the losing pitcher from the visiting team, and thus are not credited with a no-hitter. On June 28, 2008, Jered Weaver and José Arredondo of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim threw 8 no-hit innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadiummarker, but lost the game 1-0 and are not credited with a no-hitter. This is the first near no-hitter of this kind in which more than one pitcher was involved.

No-hitters lost in extra innings

A game that is a no-hitter through nine innings may be lost in extra innings. Under current rules, such a game is not considered an official no-hitter because the pitcher did not keep the opponent hitless for the entire course of the game.

On May 2, 1917, a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds reached the end of nine innings in a hitless scoreless tie, the only time in baseball history that neither team has had a hit in regulation. Both Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs and Fred Toney of the Reds continued pitching into the tenth inning. Vaughn lost his no-hitter in the top of the tenth, as the Reds got two hits and scored the winning run. Toney retired the side in the bottom of the tenth and recorded a ten-inning no-hitter. This game was long considered a "double no-hitter," but Vaughn is no longer credited with a no-hitter under the current rules.

Of the thirteen potential no-hitters that have been lost in extra innings, two were perfect games up until the first hit was surrendered. On May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a remarkable twelve perfect innings before losing the no-hitter and the game to the Milwaukee Braves in the thirteenth inning. On June 3, 1995, Pedro Martínez of the Montreal Expos pitched nine perfect innings against the San Diego Padres before giving up a hit in the tenth and exiting the game, which the Expos then won 1-0.

Teams without no-hitters

Four existing teams in Major League Baseball have not had a pitcher toss a no-hitter. Two of the four are recent expansion teams: the Tampa Bay Rays (1998) and the Colorado Rockies (1993). The other two are longer-established teams. The San Diego Padres (1969) have gone 40 years without a no-hitter. The Padres' closest bid came against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 18, 1972; Steve Arlin came within one out of a no-hitter before a Denny Doyle single broke up the bid.

The team that has been in the majors the longest without a no-hitter is the New York Mets, who began play in 1962. As of the end of the 2009 season, the Mets had played a total of 7,644 regular season games and 74 postseason games without a single no-hitter. Mets' pitchers have thrown 33 one-hitters.

Avoiding no-hitters

Every modern-era MLB team, including all the expansion teams, has suffered at least one no-hitter pitched against them. The team that avoided being no-hit for the longest period of time was the New York Yankees, from September 20, 1958 to June 11, 2003, a span of almost 45 years. The longest current streak belongs to the Chicago Cubs, at 44-plus years, who were last victims of a no-hitter at the hand of Sandy Koufax's perfect game on September 9, 1965.

Forbes Fieldmarker, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates from the middle of the 1909 season until the middle of the 1970 season, is the only long-term home field where a no-hitter was never thrown during its existence. There are several current recently-built fields where no-hitters have not yet been thrown.

Superstitions

One of the most common baseball superstitions is that it is bad luck to mention a no-hitter in progress, especially to the pitcher and in particular by their teammates (who sometimes even go so far as to not even be near the pitcher). Some sportscasters observe this taboo, while others have no reservations about mentioning no-hitters before completion. When Sandy Koufax pitched his no-hitter against the Mets in 1962, one of their 120 losses that season, Mets' coach Solly Hemus, apparently trying to jinx Koufax, kept heckling him through the game about pitching a no-hitter, according to a post-game interview Koufax gave after pitching his third no-hitter in 1964.

Some TV broadcasts will silently inform the viewers, by zooming in on a scoreboard showing 0 hits, or especially in modern years, by simply including the hit totals in the line score overlay on-screen when cutting away for commercial break. Most major league scoreboards are electronic, hence the line score begins with 0 runs and 0 hits. The electronic boards at Wrigley Fieldmarker are like this. However, it has been the custom on the hand-operated main scoreboard to show the initial hits for "Visitors" and "Home" as blanks rather than the number 0. Only when the first hit is achieved is a number posted.

See also



References

  1. The Official Site of Major League Baseball: Official info: Rules, Regulations and Statistics
  2. No Hitter Records by Baseball Almanac
  3. Johnny Vander Meer's Two Consecutive No-Hitters by Baseball Almanac
  4. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080519&content_id=2733852&vkey=news_bos&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos
  5. The Official Site of Major League Baseball: History: Rare Feats
  6. Retrosheet Boxscore: Cincinnati Reds 1, Houston Colt .45s 0
  7. Retrosheet Boxscore: Detroit Tigers 2, Baltimore Orioles 1 (1)
  8. American League No Hitters by Baseball Almanac
  9. The Chronology - 1890 | BaseballLibrary.com
  10. June 3, 1995 Montreal Expos at San Diego Padres Box Score and Play by Play - Baseball-Reference.com
  11. http://www.nonohitters.com/


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