Without question, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dave Stieb is the king of near-misses.
In 1985, Stieb brought a no-hitter into the ninth inning only to give up back-to-back home runs.
In 1988, Stieb was robbed of no-hitters in consecutive starts, and on both occasions, he had two outs and two strikes on the final hitter of the game.
On Aug. 4, 1989, Stieb outdid all three of his prior no-hit efforts. He was on the verge of a perfect game.
Facing the New York Yankees, Stieb was the down to the final batter after retiring the first 26 Yankees hitters in order. With center fielder Roberto Kelly up to bat, Stieb quickly got behind in the count with two straight balls. Needing to throw a strike, Stieb grooved a pitch that Kelly lined into the left-field corner for a double.
Second baseman Steve Sax followed with a single to right field to score Kelly. Stieb got the next batter to ground out. Not only did he lose the perfect game, but the shutout as well.
Stieb would finally break through the following year, throwing a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 2.