How many no hitters in mlb history? When a pitcher completes a no-hitter, it’s one of the most exciting singular events that can happen in baseball. It’s also one of the rare occasions that can cement a pitcher or team’s placement in baseball history.
With Michael Lorenzen’s recent no-hitter, there have been 322 no-hitters in MLB history.
Flame-throwing Nolan Ryan paces this list with an incredible seven no-hitters, although somewhat surprisingly, in none of the seven was he able to toss a perfect game. Perhaps what’s most impressive about the Hall-of-Famers’, seven etchings in the history books is how they illustrate just how long he was able to pitch at an elite level. Ryan’s first two no-nos came in 1973 while he was with the Angels, and his last two came as a member of the Rangers in ’90 and ’91.
Prior to Ryan throwing his 5th no-hitter in late September of 1981, no pitcher had thrown more than Sandy Koufax’s four–a record that at the time seemed exceedingly unlikely to ever fall. The longtime Dodger lefty threw no-nos in four consecutive seasons from 1962-1965, the last of which was a perfect game in a 1-0 win over the Cubs. Koufax was deservedly inducted into the Hall of Fame in ’72 and is still regarded as perhaps the best left-handed pitcher in league history.
Larry Corcoran is a name a lot of fans may be unfamiliar with, but for a brief time in the 1880s as a member of the Chicago White Stockings, he was quite a force on the mound. The right-hander tossed three no-hitters in the early 1880s, but he then had a hard and fast fall from grace. By ’85 Corcoran had a dead arm and two years later he was completely out of baseball. Unrelated to his no-hitters, he is amusingly credited with coming up with the first method of communicating pitches with his catcher–something he accomplished by shifting his tobacco to different places in his mouth.
The award for the best pitcher in his league is literally named after Cy Young, so his presence on this list should not exactly come as a surprise. The right-hander first accomplished the feat in the first half of a doubleheader in September of 1897, and seven years later he one-upped himself by throwing a perfect game against the Philadelphia Athletics. Young would add the 3rd no-hitter in 1908.
The Most No-Hitters in Baseball and More
Was it a fluke? Was it a product of the times? We can debate for ages on the reasons why that was the case.
Within the first eight weeks of the 2021 season, there were seven no-hitters – if you include Madison Bumgarner’s controversial seven-inning gem against the Atlanta Braves on April 25 (an official no-hitter has to be a complete game or go at least nine innings).
When it was all said and done, Major League Baseball’s record for no-hitters in a single season (eight in 1884) was broken. And the nine no-nos (including two combined) in 2021 were two more than the modern-day mark of seven set in 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015. Entering the 2021 season, there had been an average of about two per year dating back to 1876.
Because this feat no longer feels “rare,” some fans and media are concerned that the all-or-nothing approach of today’s batters is leading to a watering down of this once-historic accomplishment. At the same time, others are relishing the fact that one of the most exciting, quick-turn-on-the-TV moments in all of sports is happening with greater frequency.
We’re unveiling the game’s no-hit kings in various scenarios (individual no-hitters only). There are some categories we aren’t able to measure, like the number of no-hitters thrown while under the influence. We can only assume that distinction goes to Doc Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who fired a no-no on June 12, 1970, and later confessed that he was on LSD at the time.
As one can imagine, the right-hander was far from perfect in that outing, walking eight while striking out six. His walk total is actually tied for the third highest in a no-hitter (since 1901) behind Cincinnati Reds hurler Jim Maloney’s 10 free passes in 1965 and Florida Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett’s effectively wild no-no in 2001.
Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks might have needed to ice down his arm for days following his eight-walk effort against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. The right-hander threw 149 pitches in that contest, the most in a no-hitter since pitches began to be tracked in 1988.
In case you’re wondering, the late Darryl Kile made it easy on the umpire with the fewest number of pitches in a no-no since ’88. The Houston Astros right-hander, who also pitched for the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals, needed just 85 in a masterpiece against the New York Mets in 1993.
But were those grind-it-out, high-walk efforts the worst no-hitters of all time? Maybe. But then again, there was also Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills, who only got five swings and misses and walked three while striking out five in a no-hitter in Milwaukee’s ballpark in September. That tied Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s for the fewest swings and misses in a no-hitter since 1988. Braden also had five in his 2010 perfect game.
To further the point, only five of the 58 individual no-hitters since 2000 have had five or fewer strikeouts. And only Mills, Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins and Tyler Gilbert of the Arizona Diamondbacks had at least three walks to go with them.
How Many No-Hitters There Have Been in World Series History?
The Astros made history in Game 4 of the World Series in Wednesday night’s 5–0 victory, tossing the first combined no-hitter in World Series history. As far as no-hitters in the Fall Classic overall, the feat is incredibly rare.
In total, there have now been only two no-hitters ever in the World Series and three all-time in the postseason. The first came in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, when Don Larsen threw a perfect game against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. Larsen needed just 97 pitches to accomplish his perfecto—the same number of tosses Houston starter Cristian Javier threw on Wednesday to get through six innings.
The other postseason no-hitter was also thrown at Citizens Bank Park when Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay no-hit the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS. The manager for Cincinnati that night? Dusty Baker, current skipper for the Astros.
Javier struck out nine batters with just two walks before giving way to Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly, who each worked an inning. That trio combined for five strikeouts in 10 batters faced.
The Phillies’ bats were stymied all night Wednesday. Following Bryce Harper’s leadoff walk in the third inning, they didn’t have a baserunner until Kyle Schwarber walked with one out in the ninth. Of the nine balls they put in play against Javier, six had expected batting averages below .100. Abreu, Montero and Pressly combined for five strikeouts in 10 batters faced.
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