Thursday, August 10, 2006

No-Hit Lore

During the first six innings of the Yankees-White Sox game last night the announcers repeatedly mentioned that Randy Johnson, who was then on track to pitch a no-hitter, was the last pitcher to complete a no-hitter in the major leagues, a perfect game he pitched against the Braves while a member of the Dianmondbacks on May 18, 2004. That got me wondering if anybody had ever pitched two no hitters with no other pitchers getting one in between them.

The obvious candidate to have pulled this off was of course Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched no hitters in consecutive starts for the Cincinnati Reds against the Boston Bees on June 11 (3-0) and the Brooklyn Dodgers on June 15, 1938 (6-0). In fact, nobody else did pitch a no-hitter between those two starts. Vander Meer was not the only pitcher to pull this off, though, nor was he the first or even the last. The first was the Washington Naps' Addie Joss, who no-hit the Chicago White Sox 1-0 on October 2, 1908 and again on April 20, 1910, with no other no-hitters being pitched in between. Next to pull it off was Vander Meer, followed by the Yankees' Allie Reynolds, who downed the Cleveland Indians 1-0 on July 12, 1951, then no-hit the Boston Red Sox (Yessssss!) 8-0 in the first game of a double header on September 28, 1951.

The following year, Virgil Trucks (who?), pitching for the Tigers, no hit the Senators 1-0 on May 15 and the Yankees 1-0 on August 25, so nobody else in the American League had a no-hitter between his two, but Carl Erskine of the Dodgers no-hit the Cubs on June 19. Next up was Warren Spahn, who pitching for the Milwaukee Braves at age 39 on September 16, 1960, no-hit the Phlllies 4-0 and the following year no-hit the Giants, 1-0, on April 28, five days after his 40th birthday. Sandy Koufax pitched no hitters on June 30, 1962, beating the Mets 5-0, and on May 11, 1963 against the Giants, winning 8-0, but two American League pitchers had no-hitters between those.

The last pitcher to pull this off was, quite aptly, Nolan Ryan, who, pitching for the Angels, no-hit the Royals 3-0 on May 15 and exactly two months later no-hit the Tigers, 6-0. Because he was Nolan Ryan, he did it again, still pitching for the Angels when he no-hit the Twins, 4-0, on September 28, 1974, and the Orioles, 1-0, on June 1, 1975. And that was it, nobody else has done it in more than 30 years.

(For more no-hitter info, check out Wikipedia and the Baseball Almanac.)
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