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In baseball and softball, a no-hit game (more commonly known as a no-hitter and sometimes called a no-no for "no hits no runs") refers to a contest in which at least one of the teams has prevented the other from getting an official hit during the entire length of the game, which must be at least 9 innings (27 outs) by the current Major League Baseball definition.
A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter." The achievement of a no-hitter is rare and considered to be an extraordinary accomplishment for a pitcher or pitching staff. In most cases in the professional game, no-hitters are accomplished by a single pitcher who throws a complete game.
Labeling a game as a no-hitter does not imply that the opposing team has not reached base, since it is quite possible to reach base without a hit. Thus a no-hitter does not imply a shutout, and although it is extremely uncommon, it is possible for a pitcher to throw a no-hitter and yet lose the game (see Ken Johnson and Andy Hawkins). The special case of a no-hitter in which the other team has not reached base at all (in which a pitcher pitches a complete game that lasts a minimum of nine innings) is called a perfect game. A perfect game has been defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher pitches a complete game victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposition player reaches first base. Thus a perfect game is a shutout, a victory, and also a no-hitter. In a perfect game a pitcher will have retired all twenty seven batters he has faced.
Whenever a pitcher is working on a no-hitter or perfect game, his teammates tend to stay far away from him in the dugout and will not mention in any way (not even to other teammates) that a no-hitter is in progress, because it is believed that doing so will jinx the pitcher trying for the no-hitter. Sports commentators however, do tend to mention no-hitters in progress, and are sometimes blamed for jinxing no-hitters.
No-hitters in Major League BaseballEdit
In Major League Baseball, no-hitters are rare, occurring slightly less than twice per season on average. Slightly more than 250 no-hitters have been thrown in major league history. Only 17 of those 250 were perfect games. On June 29, 1990, two no-hitters were thrown on the same day–the first time this had ever occurred. Dave Stewart of the Oakland Athletics no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays early in the evening; hours later, Los Angeles Dodger Fernando Valenzuela pitched his no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals.
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 within exactly two months of each other 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. He threw his fifth no-hitter with the Houston Astros on September 26, 1981, which broke Sandy Koufax's record. His sixth and seventh no-hitters came with the Texas Rangers on June 11, 1990, and May 1, 1991, respectively. At age 44 when he tossed #7, he was also the oldest pitcher to toss a no-hitter. Furthermore, he pitched that seventh no-hitter on the same day Rickey Henderson stole his 939th career base, passing Lou Brock for the all-time record.
The pitcher who holds the record for the longest period between no-hitters is Randy Johnson, who 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.
There have been nine combined no-hitters, that is, when multiple pitchers collectively throw a no-hitter during a game. The first was on June 23, 1917, with Babe Ruth as the starting pitcher. After walking the first batter of the game, Ruth was ejected for arguing with an umpire. Ernie Shore relieved Ruth; the runner at first was caught attempting to steal second base, and Shore then consecutively retired the next 26 batters without allowing any baserunners. For a long time Major League Baseball actually recognized Shore's feat as a perfect game as he technically achieved 27 consecutive outs with no batter reaching base (the runner caught stealing is counted as being an "out"), but stricter perfect game definitions established after 1990 (see more below) retracted this. The Major League 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. The Yankees had been the team who had gone the longest without a no-hitter thrown against them; they were last "no-hit" in 1958 by Hoyt Wilhelm, a career relief pitcher making a rare start.
In 1953, Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns pitched a no-hitter in his first major league start (not his first major league game though, as he had done a few relief appearances earlier in the season).
On April 23, 1964, Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt 45's (they became the Houston Astros the next season) became the only pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter in nine innings when he was beaten 1-0 by Cincinnati. On July 1, 1990, Andy Hawkins of the New York Yankees lost 4-0, while pitching 8 innings of no-hit ball against the Chicago White Sox. The runs scored as a result of two walks, a misplayed ground ball, and two consecutive errors on fly balls, all of which combined to rob Hawkins of his no-hitter and the White Sox of the game, by a score of 4-0. In 1992, Matt Young of the Boston Red Sox lost an eight-inning no-hitter by a 2-1 score. In all of the 8-inning no-hit losses, the home team did not bat in the 9th, as it already had the lead.
A game that is a no-hitter through 9 innings may be lost in extra innings. In 1917, Fred Toney of the Cincinnati Reds and Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs squared off in a pitcher's duel that was a hitless, scoreless tie after 9 innings–the only time in baseball history that neither team has had a hit in regulation. The Reds got two hits in the top of the tenth inning and scored the winning run. In the bottom of the tenth, Toney retired the side and recorded a 10-inning no-hitter. (The closest any game has come since to having no hits in regulation was in 1965, when Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game and opposing pitcher Bob Hendley of the Cubs gave up only one hit to the Dodgers; notably, the winning run in this 1-0 game was scored in the fifth inning, and the game's only hit came in the seventh). In 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched twelve perfect innings before losing the no-hitter and the game to the Milwaukee Braves in the 13th. Pedro Martínez, then a member of the Montreal Expos, was the last pitcher to lose a no-hitter in the 10th inning (via a Bip Roberts double) against the San Diego Padres in 1995. Like Haddix, he too had a perfect game after nine innings.
After an unprecedented nine no-hitters in 1990, and on the way to eight in 1991, including one in regulation broken up in extra innings, one ended early because of weather, and one where the losing pitcher gave up no hits, but errors caused the team to lose, and the home side did not have to bat, Major League Baseball changed the rules so that only no-hit games of nine or more full innings ending with no hits are officially recognized. No-hitters and perfect games that go into extra innings because the score is tied at the end of regulation play (including 0-0 ties) are only recognized if the game finishes without it being broken up. Rain-shortened "official game" no-hitters are also no longer recognized (though they always had an "asterisk" in the record books). As a result, Ken Johnson's 9-inning no-hit loss is the only one that is still recognized in the official baseball record books; the other cases noted above are simply "footnotes" in baseball trivia books and websites (including the Elias Sports Bureau). This ruling, which has caused some no-hitters up to 100 years old to be "reversed", has been quite controversial, especially in the case of the two perfect games that were ended in extra innings and technically fit the "9 inning" definition. The 1917 "double no-hitter" by both sides is not officially recognized anymore either; only Fred Toney's 10-inning feat in that game is officially considered a no-hitter.
The Cleveland Indians' Bob Feller left the Chicago White Sox hitless in the 1940 season opener on April 16. This remains the only Opening Day no-hitter to date. On the other side of the coin, in 1984 Mike Witt of the California Angels pitched a perfect game against the Texas Rangers on the final day of the regular season: September 30. To date, this remains the only no-hitter pitched on the final day of a regular season.
On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees became the only person in Major League history to throw a no-hitter during a World Series game. Larsen's victory against the Brooklyn Dodgers was also a perfect game. It remains the only no-hitter in World Series history, and indeed the only such feat in any postseason game. (The only other pitcher to come close to such a feat was the Yankees' Bill Bevens, who came within one out of no-hitting the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series, only to lose the game on a pinch-hit double by Cookie Lavagetto.)
Mike Scott of the Houston Astros threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on September 25, 1986; the victory also clinched the National League West title for the Astros, the only such coincidence thus far.
In June 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds accomplished what no other pitcher has managed to duplicate before or since. On June 11 of that year, he threw a no-hitter against the Boston Braves. In his very next start, June 15, he threw a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers, thus becoming the only pitcher in baseball history to throw consecutive no-hitters. He was perhaps aided by the fact that it was also the very first night game at Ebbets Field. Most baseball historians believe that his feat will never be exceeded, since to do so a pitcher would have to throw three consecutive no-hitters. Allie Reynolds (in 1951), Virgil Trucks (in 1952), and Nolan Ryan (in 1973) are the only other major leaguers thus far to throw two no-hitters in the same season. The pitcher who came closest to matching Vander Meer was Ewell Blackwell of Cincinnati, who had a no-hitter broken up with one out in the ninth against Brooklyn on 22 June 1947, four days after no-hitting the Braves 6-0.
Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays nearly duplicated Vander Meer's feat in his last two starts of the 1988 season when he lost no-hit bids (one a perfect game) with two outs in the ninth on both occasions. Furthermore, Stieb threw a one-hitter in his second start of the following season, thus giving him three one-hitters in four starts. After losing another no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning later in 1989, Stieb finally accomplished the elusive feat when he no-hit the Cleveland Indians on September 2, 1990.
Five pitchers have thrown a no-hitter in both the American League and the National League: Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, Jim Bunning, Hideo Nomo, and Randy Johnson. Only three catchers have caught a no-hitter in each league: Gus Triandos, Jeff Torborg, and Ron Hassey. Triandos caught Hoyt Wilhelm's 1958 no-hitter and Jim Bunning's perfect game, Torborg caught Sandy Koufax's perfect game and Nolan Ryan's first no-hitter, and Hassey caught Len Barker's and Dennis Martinez's perfect games.
Harvey Kuenn had the dubious distinction of making the final out in two of Sandy Koufax's four no-hitters. As a Giant in 1963 he hit a ground ball back to none other than Koufax for the final out; as a Cub in 1965 he struck out for the final out in Koufax's perfect game (to date, the last no-hitter to be pitched against the Cubs).
In 1991, Nolan Ryan completed his seventh no-hitter by striking out Roberto Alomar for the final out. Ryan's second baseman in his first two no-hitters (both of which were pitched in 1973) had been Alomar's father, Sandy Sr.
The Forsch brothers are the only brother combination to pitch Major League no-hitters. Bob of the St. Louis Cardinals pitched two: on April 16, 1978 against the Philadelphia Phillies, and September 26, 1983 against the Montréal Expos. Less than a year after Bob's first, his brother Ken of the Houston Astros joined him by pitching his no-hitter on April 7, 1979 against the Atlanta Braves. This no-hitter was the also the earliest, calendar-wise, a no-hitter had been pitched in a season (Jack Morris would also pitch one on April 7, in 1984).
Back-to-back no-hitters have been tossed for teams opposing each other during a single series. On September 17, 1968, Gaylord Perry of the San Francisco Giants no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals, 1-0, at Candlestick Park. The very next day (but not the next game as it occurred during a double-header), Ray Washburn returned the favor for his Cardinals against the Giants, with St. Louis prevailing over San Francisco, 2-0. It happened again when Jim Maloney of the Reds pitched an easy 10-0 victory against the Astros on April 30, 1969 at Crosley Field. The very next day, Don Wilson of the Astros returned the favor, no-hitting the Reds 4-0. Coincidentally, the no-hitters were the second of both Maloney's and Wilson's careers (in 1965 Maloney, in a third game, allowed no hits after ten innings but had the no-hitter broken up by a home run in the 11th).
In 1970, four of the five California-based Major League Stadiums had no-hitters pitched in them, with Candlestick Park being the only one not to witness a no-hitter. In the first game of a June 12 doubleheader, Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Dock Ellis no-hit the San Diego Padres 2-0 at San Diego Stadium, (while, Ellis claims, tripping on LSD). On July 3, California Angel pitcher Clyde Wright no-hit the Oakland Athletics 4-0 at Anaheim Stadium. On July 20, Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Bill Singer no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 at Dodger Stadium. And on September 21, Oakland's Vida Blue no-hit the Minnesota Twins 6-0 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. On August 11, 1991, White Sox hurler Wilson Alvarez became the first rookie to throw a no-hitter since 1983 when he defeated the Orioles, 7-0, in his 2nd big league start. The previous rookie-pitched no-hitter was tossed by the New York Yankees' Dave Righetti. On September 06, 2006, Florida Marlins rookie Aníbal Sánchez threw a no hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On May 15, 1960, only two days after being traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Chicago Cubs, Don Cardwell no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in the second game of a doubleheader. To date, he is the only pitcher to hurl a no-hitter in his first start with a new team.
Two pitchers have homered while pitching no-hitters. Earl Wilson of the Boston Red Sox hit a home run during his June 26, 1962 no-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels. Rick Wise went one better: in his June 23, 1971 no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher hit two home runs.
Some teams seem to pitch no-hitters more than others. Most notably, the New York Mets have never had a no-hitter pitched for them since their inception in 1962, despite having had some of baseball's most overpowering no-hit pitchers including Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Nolan Ryan, Pedro Martínez, Tom Glavine, Al Leiter and Mike Scott on their pitching staff at times. (In sharp contrast, in 1969, Bill Stoneman pitched a no-hitter for the Montreal Expos only nine games into the franchise's existence. Moreover, on June 30, 1962, only three months into the Mets' existence, Sandy Koufax threw a no-hitter against them for the first of his four career no-hitters.) This is sometimes explained as the effect of a curse for having traded eventual no-hit king Nolan Ryan away early in his career.
In addition, the aforementioned Bobo Holloman no-hitter was one of his only three Major League victories. By comparison, eight 300-game winners—Grover Cleveland Alexander, Kid Nichols, Lefty Grove, Early Wynn, Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens—have/had never pitched a no-hitter in their careers.
Also, some parks are famous for their number of no-hitters, either high or low. Forbes Field, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1909 to 1970, never saw a no-hitter. Conversely, Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, had a no-hitter pitched in only its first year of existence: Nolan Ryan's first career no-hitter in 1973. Two parks in existence for a decade or more have only seen one no-hitter to date—the Orioles' current home, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Coors Field, the notoriously hitter-friendly home of the Colorado Rockies. In both parks, the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter is Hideo Nomo.
Until recently, no-hitters had become rarer than ever. Aníbal Sánchez's no-hitter on September 6, 2006 ended a 2½-year stretch without one, the longest stretch between no-hitters in seventy years  and the longest number of games played (6,364) between no-hitters in Major League history. The number of no-hitters pitched since the early 1990s has decreased due to the increasing rarity of a starting pitcher completing a game, based on restrictions to his pitch count (which nowadays averages about 100 per quality start). Since 100 pitches are usually thrown by the sixth or seventh inning of most games, the starting pitcher is typically removed from the game, even if he is pitching well. There have, however, been a number of combined no-hitters, utilizing multiple pitchers. Generally however, managers will allow the pitcher working on a no-hitter to stay in the game because even some of the greatest pitchers in history have never had a chance at a no-hitter.
There are three teams who have yet to be on the winning end of a no-hitter in their histories to date: The New York Mets, the San Diego Padres, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In the closest the Padres have come to pitching one, Steve Arlin's bid was broken up in a July 18, 1972 game against the Philadelphia Phillies.