May 1, 2021
So, Madison Bumgarner’s 7-inning no-hitter doesn’t officially count. The definition is murky and this isn’t the first-time baseball has been trapped by its own vernacular.
In 1964 Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt 45s pitched a 9-inning complete game no-hitter against Cincinnati. But lost the game 1-0 on an unearned run in the 9th. Still, it counts.
In 1917 when I was just a child… pitcher Babe Ruth started a game for the Boston Red Sox. He walked the first hitter he faced. Confronted the umpire about the strike zone and got tossed. Enter Ernie Shore. That runner was thrown out trying to steal. Shore retired all 26 batters he faced and was credited for with a perfect game. That got changed in 1991 and officially Ruth and Shore pitched a combined no-hitter. Ruth having started and walked the only player he faced.
But the mother of all would be no-hitters was pitched in 1959. Pittsburgh’s Harvey Haddix worked 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves. That should count for something… wouldn’t you think? But he gave up a run in the 13th inning. And with it lost the perfecto… the no hitter… the shutout… and the game.
Still, there’s some value in that 62 years later we’re still referencing it. Which is more than can be said about baseball’s 307 official no-hitters.