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Ranking the 29 Pitchers with Multiple No-Hitters

Joe HalversonCorrespondent IJune 13, 2012

Ranking the 29 Pitchers with Multiple No-Hitters

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    By now, everybody knows about the unusual no-hitter that took place in Seattle last Friday that saw the Mariners use six different pitchers in the 1-0 victory over the Dodgers.  

    It was the second such no-hitter in MLB history, following the Astros' six-pitcher effort against the Yankees back in 2003.

    One detail, however, managed to get overlooked:  It was the second no-hitter of Seattle starter Kevin Millwood's career, making him the fourth active player and 29th in MLB history to achieve that milestone.

    What better time to take a look at this most exclusive of clubs?

    All statistics are courtesy of baseball-reference.com. 

Bill Stoneman

2 of 30

    WAR:  4.7 

    ERA+:  90

    If it wasn’t for his two no-hitters with the Expos, Stoneman’s playing career would have been long forgotten. 

    Stoneman’s first no-no occurred during the Expos’ 1969 expansion season; his second was the first one ever thrown in Canada.  However, Stoneman is far more famous for being the GM who led the Angels to the 2002 World Series championship.

Kent Mercker

3 of 30

    WAR:  11.3 

    ERA+:  104

    Mercker spent most of his 18-year career pitching out of the bullpen but came up big in a couple of his starts. 

    He is also one of two pitchers on this list who shares credit for one of his no-hitters, as he threw the first six innings of his first one in 1991 before giving way to the Braves bullpen.

Carl Erskine

4 of 30

    WAR:  14.4 

    ERA+:  101

    Erskine was one of the Boys of Summer, spending his entire 11-year career with the Dodgers organization. He also played a key role in the franchise’s long-awaited World Series title in 1955.

Bob Forsch

5 of 30

    WAR:  16 

    ERA+:  98

    Forsch was a good, but not great, pitcher during his 16 years in the bigs, which he spent mostly in St. Louis. 

    However, he is regarded as one of the best-hitting pitchers of his generation, batting .215 with 12 home runs in his career.  His brother Ken also threw a no-hitter during his career.

Frank Smith

6 of 30

    WAR:  15.1 

    ERA+:  101

    Smith spent the bulk of his 11-year career with the White Sox, and for a century, he was the only pitcher in franchise history with multiple no-hitters. 

    His best year was the 1909 season, when he had a 1.80 ERA in 365 innings pitched.

Steve Busby

7 of 30

    WAR:  15.1 

    ERA+:  105

    Busby showed great promise early in his career in Kansas City but quickly flamed out after two All-Star seasons. 

    Now he is best known for throwing the first two no-hitters in the history of the Royals franchise.

Hideo Nomo

8 of 30

    WAR:  19.6 

    ERA+:  97

    Nomo is considered the Jackie Robinson of Japanese baseball, as he was not the first to play in the Majors and opened the door for numerous future Japanese players. 

    Almost as impressive is the fact that the first of his no-hitters was at Coors Field pre-humidor.   

Ken Holtzman

9 of 30

    WAR:  23.9 

    ERA+:  105

    Holtzman spent most of his early years with the Cubs, where he threw both of his no-hitters.  However, he is most famous for being a frontline starter on all three of Oakland’s World Series winners in the early-1970s. 

Johnny Vander Meer

10 of 30

    WAR:  25.1 

    ERA+:  107

    No other player in MLB history is as defined by the no-hitter as Vander Meer, whose back-to-back no-nos in 1938 remain one of the most famous feats in the history of the game.  

Kevin Millwood

11 of 30

    WAR:  27.3 

    ERA+:  107

    The most recent addition to this list, Millwood has thrown no-hitters in both leagues and is one of only two players to have been relieved during one of his two no-nos. 

    He is attempting to jump-start his career with Seattle, and so far, things are looking mighty good.  

Allie Reynolds

12 of 30

    WAR:  22.9 

    ERA+:  109

    Reynolds split his 13-year career between Cleveland and the Yankees, and his trade for Joe Gordon is considered one of MLB’s greatest win-win deals. 

    Reynolds was also the first AL pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season, turning the trick for the Yanks in 1951.

Larry Corcoran

13 of 30

    WAR:  25.1 

    ERA+:  113

    On the one hand, Corcoran is by far the worst pitcher ever to have thrown more than two no-hitters in his career. 

    On the other hand, it isn’t really fair to say he was the least likely pitcher to do it, considering he was the first pitcher ever to throw a second no-hitter in his career.   

Don Wilson

14 of 30

    WAR:  25.8 

    ERA+:  109

    Wilson spent his entire nine-year career in Houston and is one of many arms that burned out right as free agency was about to hit. 

    His no-hit history is unique in that it is forever intertwined with another player on this list…

Jim Maloney

15 of 30

    WAR:  32.3 

    ERA+:  115

    Maloney was Cincinnati’s ace in the 1960s, right before the club turned into the Big Red Machine.  Maloney went extra innings against the Cubs for his first no-hitter, which happened just weeks after he lost a no-no in the 11th inning against the Mets

    His second official no-hitter happened against the Astros on April 30th, 1969—the day before Don Wilson threw the second of his career against the Reds.

Dutch Leonard

16 of 30

    WAR:  33.7 

    ERA+:  115

    Leonard was part of the great Red Sox pitching staff of the 1910s, and his 1914 campaign (featuring a microscopic 0.90 ERA) rates among the flukiest seasons in MLB history.  

    He’s not to be confused with that other Dutch Leonard who pitched from 1933 to 1953. 

Virgil Trucks

17 of 30

    WAR:  39 

    ERA+:  117

    Trucks spent most of his 17-year career with Detroit and was regarded as a pitcher who was capable of dominating but could never fully lock down a starting job. 

    His 1952 season rates as one of the most bizarre pitching seasons the game has ever seen, as he threw two no-hitters but also went 5-19 on the year. 

Mark Buehrle

18 of 30

    WAR:  47.3 

    ERA+:  120

    Buehrle might be the most underappreciated player of his generation. 

    A 38th-round selection back in the 1998 draft, Buehrle has made 30 or more starts in each of the past 11 seasons and has demonstrated the ability to carry a pitching staff for weeks without anything resembling overpowering stuff. 

    Buehrle also came within a lone walk of becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to throw two perfect games in his career.   

Justin Verlander

19 of 30

    WAR:  29.8 

    ERA+:  125

    This one requires a little bit of projection, as Verlander still has a solid decade before he retires. 

    But if his first six full seasons are any indication, Verlander is likely to be part of the next generation of MLB pitchers to crack the 300-win barrier.  Here’s guessing the Padres brass is still kicking themselves over selecting Matt Bush ahead of Verlander in the 2004 MLB draft. 

Addie Joss

20 of 30

    WAR:  43.2 

    ERA+:  142

    In one respect, Joss is the least-deserving member of the Hall of Fame, as he does not meet the current criteria for induction by playing only nine MLB seasons. 

    Then again, as measured by ERA+, Joss is the very best pitcher on this entire list.  Joss was clearly the pitcher of the 1900s, and his 1.89 career ERA is the second lowest of any pitcher who threw at least 1,000 career innings.

Jim Bunning

21 of 30

    WAR:  56.7 

    ERA+:  115

    Bunning was a consistent frontline starter for the better part of 17 seasons and is best known for being the first pitcher to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues. 

    He is also the most successful politician on this list, serving the state of Kentucky in both the House and the Senate for 12 years each.

Bob Feller

22 of 30

    WAR:  59.9 

    ERA+:  122

    Feller was one of the game’s first true super-prospects, entering the Majors at 17 (with help from ownership shenanigans), before he had even graduated from high school. 

    A decorated WWII vet who played a part in the Battle of Saipan, many believe the time Feller lost to the service cost him the opportunity to break Walter Johnson’s strikeout record. 

    He did become the third pitcher to throw three no-hitters in his career, however, and his first one was the only Opening Day no-no in MLB history. 

Pud Galvin

23 of 30

    WAR:  78.0 

    ERA+:  107

    Galvin is best-known for two things: holding most of the career pitching records, before Cy Young broke them, and for being MLB’s first known user of performance-enhancing drugs. 

    He was also the greatest workhorse of the 19th century and was the second pitcher ever to record multiple no-hitters in his career. 

Nolan Ryan

24 of 30

    WAR:  77.4 

    ERA+:  112

    One of the great genetic freaks in the history of baseball, Ryan made more starts than all but one pitcher and is the all-time leader in both strikeouts and walks by nearly identical margins.

    Contrary to popular belief, Ryan did not break Walter Johnson’s strikeout record, as Steve Carlton had passed it the year before. 

    But on the other hand, his seven no-hitters are three more than any pitcher ever to play the game. 

Sandy Koufax

25 of 30

    WAR:  50.3 

    ERA+:  131

    Koufax’s four no-hitters were the most in MLB history before Ryan came along, and he is one of the very few athletes in the history of sports to retire at the absolute peak of their powers. 

    While his peak is widely regarded as one of the best in MLB history, his lack of longevity barely keeps him out of the top five of these rankings.  

Roy Halladay

26 of 30

    WAR:  62.9 

    ERA+:  136

    The last of the four active pitchers with multiple no-hitters, Halladay is unique not only in the fact that both of his no-nos came in the same season but also that one of them occurred in the playoffs. 

    Halladay is clearly the top workhorse of his generation, having led the league in complete games in seven of the past nine seasons. 

    He could retire tomorrow and would almost surely be a Hall of Famer. 

Warren Spahn

27 of 30

    WAR:  86 

    ERA+:  119

    Spahn was one of the most consistent pitchers in MLB history, putting together two seasons of absolute dominance (1947 and 1953) and 14 more as a clear frontline starter. 

    Spahn won 20 or more games 13 times in his career, and his 382 complete games are the most of any pitcher in the post-WWII era.

Christy Mathewson

28 of 30

    WAR:  90.8 

    ERA+:  135

    Mathewson was arguably the best pitcher of the Dead Ball Era, ranking third all time in wins and famously throwing three shutouts in a row to lead the Giants to the 1905 World Series crown. 

    And hey, how many former MLB players can say they have a college football stadium named in their honor

Randy Johnson

29 of 30

    WAR:  98.6 

    ERA+:  135

    That’s right: I have the Big Unit as the second-best pitcher on this list. 

    It’s crazy that people don’t seem to want to give Johnson the credit he deserves, even though he combines Koufax’s peak performance with Spahn’s longevity. 

    Maybe it’s the late start, or perhaps the fact he spent virtually his entire career in MLB’s Western divisions.  Johnson’s no-hitters were thrown 14 years apart from each other, which is the longest span of anyone on this list.

Cy Young

30 of 30

    WAR:  162.3 

    ERA+:  138

    There’s no debate, however, at the top of the list, as Young’s name is plastered all over the record book with a collection of numbers that range from unbreakable to laughably unbreakable. 

    Young could only share the record for most no-hitters, and it is actually one of his few career marks to have actually been broken. 

    Of course, considering the guy who eclipsed his record wound up wining the Cy Young Award at the end of the season, I don’t think Young would be bothered too much by it. 

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