From Academic Kids

In baseball and softball, a no-hit game (more commonly known as a no-hitter) refers to a contest in which one of the teams has prevented the other from getting an official hit during the entire length of the game, which must be at least 9 innings by the current Major League Baseball definition. Foul balls, foul tips, ground outs, fly outs, walks and errors do not break up a no-hitter.

A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter." The achievement of a no-hitter is rare and considered to be an extraordinary accomplishment for a pitcher or pitching staff. In most cases in the professional game, no-hitters are accomplished by a single pitcher who throws a complete game.

Labeling a game as a no-hitter does not imply that the opposing team has not reached base, since it is quite possible to reach base without a hit. Thus a no-hitter does not imply a shutout, and although it is extremely uncommon, it is possible for a pitcher to throw a no-hitter and yet lose the game. The special case of a no-hitter in which the other team has not reached base at all is called a perfect game. A perfect game is by definition a shutout and a victory.

It is considered bad luck to mention a team's hitless status while the game is in progress, so often only the most observant fans will realize that there is a possibility of a no-hitter until the game is over - or the no-hitter is broken up.

No-hitters in Major League Baseball

In Major League Baseball, no-hitters are a rare but not unheard-of occurrence, with an average of slightly less than two per season over the history of the game, with slightly more than 250 no-hitters having been thrown. Only 17 of those 250 were perfect games. On June 29, 1990, two no-hitters were thrown on the same day–the first time this had ever occurred.

The pitcher who holds the record for the most no-hitters is Nolan Ryan, who threw seven in his long career and was regarded as the undisputed king of no-hitters. His first two came within exactly two months of each other with the California Angels: one on May 15, 1973 and the other on July 15. He won two more with the Angels: September 28, 1974 and June 1, 1975. He threw his fifth no-hitter with the Houston Astros on September 26, 1981, which broke Sandy Koufax's record. Finally, his sixth and seventh no-hitters came with the Texas Rangers on June 11, 1990 and May 1, 1991.

The pitcher who holds the record for the longest period between no-hitters is Randy Johnson, who threw a no-hitter as a Seattle Mariner on June 2, 1990 and a perfect game as an Arizona Diamondback on May 18, 2004.

There have been nine combined no-hitters, that is, when multiple pitchers collectively throw a no-hitter during a game. The first was on June 23, 1917, with Babe Ruth as the starting pitcher. Ruth was ejected from the game for arguing with an umpire in the first inning. Ernie Shore relieved Ruth; the runner at first was caught stealing, and Shore then retired the next 26 batters. The Major League record for combined pitchers in a no-hitter is six, set by the Houston Astros against the New York Yankees on June 11, 2003. The pitchers were Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner.

There have been no-hitters in which the pitcher ended up losing the game. Andy Hawkins of the New York Yankees lost 4-0, while pitching 8 innings of no-hit ball against the Chicago White Sox in a 1990 game. All of the runs scored as a result of two walks and three consecutive errors on fly balls. In 1992, Matt Young of the Boston Red Sox lost an eight-inning no-hitter by a 2-1 score. The home team did not bat in the 9th, as they already had the lead. Those no-hitters are not recognzed by Major League Baseball.

In 1967, Steve Barber and Stu Miller of the Baltimore Orioles pitched a combined no-hitter, but lost 2-1 to the Tigers.

A game that is a no-hitter through 9 innings may be lost in extra innings. In 1917, Fred Toney of the Cincinnati Reds and Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs squared off in a pitcher's duel that was a hitless, scoreless tie after 9 innings — the only time in baseball history that neither team has had a hit in regulation. The Reds got two hits in the top of the tenth and scored the winning run. In the bottom of the tenth, Toney retired the side and recorded a 10-inning no-hitter. In 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched twelve perfect innings before losing the no-hitter and the game to the Milwaukee Braves in the 13th. Pedro Martinez was the last pitcher to lose a no-hitter in the 10th inning after pitching nine perfect innings against the Dodgers in 1995.

The Cleveland Indians' Bob Feller left the Chicago White Sox hitless in the season opener on April 16, 1940. This remains the only Opening Day no-hitter to date.

On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen became the only person in Major League history to throw a no-hitter during a World Series game, a feat that has not been repeated. Larsen's no-hitter was also a perfect game. It not only is the only no-hitter in World Series history, but is also the only no-hitter thrown in any postseason game.

In June 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds accomplished what no other pitcher has managed to duplicate. On June 11 of that year, he threw a no-hitter against the Boston Braves. In his very next start, June 15, he threw a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers, thus becoming the only pitcher in baseball history to throw consecutive no-hitters. He was perhaps aided by the fact that it was also the very first night game at Ebbets Field. Most baseball historians believe that his feat will never be exceeded, since to do so a pitcher would have to throw three consecutive no-hitters. Allie Reynolds (in 1951), Virgil Trucks (in 1952), and Nolan Ryan (in 1973) are the only other major leaguers thus far to throw two no-hitters in the same season.

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