The No-No: A Beauty of Baseball

Hank DeHayContributor IApril 25, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 19:  Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox reacts with teammate Jason Varitek #33 after throwing a no hitter against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on May 19, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Some say baseball can be defined by just statistics, but only a true fan can see past the statistics and see the beauty of the game.  Some people say that a cycle is just four hits, that a perfect game is just another win, a walk off home run is just a hit, that a no hitter is just another win! In the next few weeks I will dive into baseball lore, legend, databases, Wikipedia articles, and my baseball filled brain to try and let you see the beauty of baseball I see every time I see that gorgeous green diamond.

            First off, we will take a swing at the no hitter. The no-no is one of the most difficult pitching accomplishments. Most are done in a complete game, (another article to come) which means the same pitcher stays in the game for its entirety and faces at-least 27 batters. If he can sit down all 27 batters he has a Perfect Game, one of the highest achievements in a career.  

            Throwing the complete game, you face the same batter 3 times. If he is a good player, he can usually read your pitchers and know if you throw first pitch strikes, if you get down in the count, whether you throw garbage or throw tricks, and he will know every single one of your pitches.  You have to change up your order, throw a curve when you usually throw high heat.  Throw to the outside when you’re know to throw down the middle. Get them a little scared an throw a fast one right in front of someone’s face, but make sure you don’t hit him just scare the mess out of them.

            Do realize the obscurity of a no-no? There are 264 officially recognized by the MLB between 1876-2010 (only 18 were perfect games), multiple no-hitters in a day have been thrown twice, 92 years apart. No team has ever thrown no-hitters in consecutive games, but twice there have been back-to-back no-hitters thrown by teams in a series. The Giants no-hit the Cardinals, then no-hit the giants the next day, and the Reds no hit the Astros to have them shut them down the next day. 26 Pitchers have thrown multiple no-hitters in their careers.  The man with the most is Nolan Ryan with 7, then Koufax with 4, Cy Young (ya the one the trophy is named after) with 3, Bob Feller (Cleveland Indian great) with 3, and and Larry Corcoran (first to throw more than two no-no’s) also with 3.  Two rookie pitchers have thrown no-no’s in their first career starts.  One no-hitter has been counted as a loss. In 1965 Ken Johnson threw a no-hitter but the scoring run (by Pete Rose) was scored via an error, groundout, and another error. Do you understand how rare this is? It’s like finding Rush Limbaugh at an Obama rally!  How can you just call this another win? It’s a "once in blue moon" kind of thing. What’s so special about your linebacker's hit on the quarterback? My 5-year-old nephew can knock the crap out of another 5 year old. Wanna go see that?  How can you just count something that you’ve poured all your blood, sweat, and tears into 9 innings "just another win?"  If you built a house would it be “just another house?" NO! It would be your home, a place that is special to you. Just like a no-hitter is to a true baseball-loving fanatic.