All No-Hitters Aren’t Equal

While pitchers no longer have reputations for throwing all nine innings, when one gets hot and they are allowed to exceed the 100-pitch limit to finish the job, there are few things like it in sports. Trying to bet on who the next pitcher is that will throw a no-no isn’t something easy to identify. There’s a better chance of always picking which slot machine to play on an online casino.

Through the end of the 2021 season, there have been 314 no-hitters recorded in Major League Baseball history. There are 43 that are from what the league concierge the pre-modern era, which is before the American League was formed in 1901. Here’s a look at some of the idiosyncrasies of when and how players accomplish these feats.

No-hitters doesn’t mean you win

While not allowing hits is a good way to win baseball games, it isn’t a perfect method.  There was one instance where a pitcher threw a complete game and no-hitter, but still didn’t collect the win. Houston Colt .45 pitcher Ken Johnson became the first pitcher to lose a no-hitter on April 23, 1964. In the top of the ninth inning, Peter Rose tried to lay down a bunt to get on base.

Johnson overthrew first base, which resulted in an error that allowed Rose to go to second base. Rose advanced to third when Chico Ruiz grounded out in the following at bat. Rose would score when Vada Pinson reached on a throwing error by the second baseman. Houston wouldn’t score in the bottom of the ninth and the Reds escaped with a 1-0 win.

Cincinnati pitcher Joe Nuxhall recorded a complete-game shutout, scattering five hits over nine innings. 

More than once

The notoriety for throwing two no-hitters in the same season rightfully remains with Johnny Vander Meer, who threw no-hitters in consecutive starts while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds in 1938. However, Vander Meer wasn’t the only pitcher to ever throw two or more in one season.

Allie Reynodlds (1951), Virgil Trucks (1952), Nolan Ryan (1973), Roy Halladay (2010) and Max Scherzer (2015) all threw two or more in one season. Halladay is the only player to do it in both the regular season and postseason. 

How is it defined?

MLB used to have a rule that no-hitters and perfect games would be counted through nine innings. If the game went more than nine innings and the pitcher gave up a hit, they would still keep the no-hitter. However, the league would change the rule about the definition in 1991 when commissioner Fay Vincent declared no-hitters would be known as games with nine or more innings that ended with no hits.

That rule impacted several players, but Jim Maloney may have been most disappointed. Maloney, who had two official no-hitters, one in 1965 and 1969, had two under the old rules when he retired in 1971. While pitching with the Reds in 1965, Maloney threw two no-hitters, but one was broken up in the 11th inning. Under the old rules, Maloney retired with three no-hitters, but Vincent’s proclamation bumped it down to two.

Who has the most?

It should be no surprise, with a rich pitching history the Los Angeles are known for, that the Dodgers lead the MLB with the most no-hitters, having had 26 thrown in their history. The Chicago White Sox are second with 20. The Boston Red Sox (18), San Francisco Giants (17), Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs (17) also have 15 or more.

Is there a trend on the horizon?

Pitchers throw harder than ever. The 2021 season saw a new record for no-hitters with a modern-era record of nine no-nos thrown. Before last season, the previous record was seven no-hitters, which happened in 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015.

Von Ryan express

Nolan Ryan spent an incredible 27 seasons in the MLB. During his senior, Ryan was best known for striking people out, throwing no-hitters and using Robin Ventura as a punching base. Ryan threw an MLB-record seven no-hitters. Ryan threw his first two within two months of each other while he was pitching for the California Angels in 1973.

The only other pitchers who threw two or more were Sandy Koufax (four), Bob Feller (three) Larry Corcoran (three) and Justin Verlander (three).

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