October 24, 2017

The Best Pitchers Who Never Threw A No-Hitter

July 21, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The no-hitter remains one of the rarest feats in Major League Baseball as only 237 complete game no-hitters have been hurled since 1901 (roughly 1.5 no-hitters per year). Let’s examine a group of pitchers who have never twirled a no-no despite possessing excellent hits-to-innings pitched ratios. The register includes pitchers with Hall of Fame credentials, several aces who flirted with no-hitters or perfect games along with an eclectic mix of wild flamethrowers and journeymen junkballers.

I will also comment on the “worst” pitchers to deliver at least one no-hitter in their career (“worst” being a relative term, based on a poor hits-to-innings pitched ratio). Additional leader boards consist of the no-hit club with less than 1000 innings pitched and the “best” pitchers to fashion one or more no-hitters.

I truncated the “best pitchers” list at the .900 H/IP mark (with a few exceptions). I have posted the complete spreadsheet here.

Methodology

I extracted the 1901 through 2015 pitcher data from the Lahman Database using R Studio and exported the results to Excel. I added a column to calculate hits allowed per innings pitched (HIP) and sorted the results in ascending order. The results are restricted to pitchers with more than 1000 innings pitched in their career and more games started than relief appearances.

Best Pitchers, Hits per Innings Pitched (Career) with Zero No-Hitters

(minimum 1000 IP, 50%+ Games Started / Games)

Sid Fernandez fashioned a .761 H/IP ratio during his career, ranking fourth on the All-Time list behind Nolan Ryan (.728), Clayton Kershaw (.744) and Sandy Koufax (.755). “El Sid” registered a 16-strikeout performance in a 3-2 loss to Atlanta on 7/14/1989 along with five 2-hit games.

J.R. Richard led the National League with 300+ strikeouts in consecutive campaigns (1978-79), whiffing 15 batters in a game three times over the course of his career. Richard spun a one-hitter on 4/19/1980 as Reggie Smith reached on an infield single with two outs in the fourth inning.

Four-time All-Star Andy Messersmith paced the Senior Circuit with 20 victories and a 1.098 WHIP, earning a runner-up finish in the 1974 NL Cy Young Award balloting. “Bluto” furnished personal-bests in ERA (2.29), games (42), games started (40), complete games (19) and innings pitched (321.2) while exceeding the 200-strikeout mark for the third time in his career during the subsequent season. Expos center fielder Pepe Mangual spoiled Messersmith’s no-hit bid on 6/4/1976 with a one-out single in the ninth frame.

Sam McDowell mesmerized opposing batters throughout a six-year stretch from 1965-1970 as he registered at least 225 strikeouts per year. “Sudden Sam” whiffed a career-best 325 batsmen and claimed the ERA title with a 2.18 mark in 1965. He compiled four one-hit games in his career including back-to-back masterpieces in 1966 on April 25 (vs. the Kansas City Athletics) and May 1 (vs. the Chicago White Sox).

Pedro J. Martinez took a perfect game into the tenth inning against San Diego on 6/3/1995. The Expos tallied a run in the top of the tenth, but the Padres’ left fielder Bip Roberts doubled to start the bottom of the frame. Mel Rojas relieved Martinez and preserved the shutout. In addition to his perfect game bid, “Petey” notched three one-hit games in his career including a 17-strikeout performance against the Yankees on 9/10/1999.

Babe Ruth led the Junior Circuit with a 1.75 ERA in 1916 and eclipsed the 20-win mark in back-to-back campaigns (1916-17). The “Bambino” held Detroit to a lone safety by shortstop Donie Bush on 7/11/1917. Ruth compiled a 2.28 ERA and a 1.159 WHIP to complement his 94-46 record.

Of Bob Turley’s four one-hitters, his elite performance on July 4, 1959 in the second game of a double-dip against the Senators stands as his greatest achievement. Julio Becquer spoiled the no-hit bid with a single to left field leading off the ninth inning, but “Bullet Bob” induced a fly out and a double-play grounder back to the mound to secure the victory.

Dave Boswell amassed 20 wins for Minnesota in 1969, but his shining moment occurred three years prior. Facing the Orioles on July 30, 1966, Boswell entered the seventh inning with a no-hitter intact. Baltimore center fielder Russ Snyder led off the frame with a single to left. Boswell finished the game with 11 whiffs, three short of his career-high.

Mario Soto recorded 274 strikeouts and paced the National League with a 1.060 WHIP in ’82. He finished runner-up in the 1983 NL Cy Young balloting and registered an 18-7 mark in the subsequent season. Soto logged one-hitters against Atlanta in October 1981 and St. Louis in May 1984. “Silent” George Hendrick slammed a four-bagger with two outs in the ninth inning, spoiling Soto’s no-hit bid and knotting the score at one apiece. Cincinnati backstop Brad Gulden responded with a walk-off single in the bottom of the frame off Bruce Sutter.

Jose DeLeon carried a no-no into the seventh inning of a contest on 8/24/1984 vs. Cincinnati. Dave “Cobra” Parker’s base knock with two runners aboard tallied the go-ahead run for the Reds. The Bucs lost the game, 2-0, one of 19 losses for DeLeon during the ’84 season. The right-hander rebounded to record consecutive campaigns with 200+ strikeouts (1988-89).

Stretching the term “effectively wild” to the breaking point, Tommy Byrne compiled a winning record (85-69) in the big leagues despite accruing more walks than strikeouts in every season that he pitched at least 50 innings. In a 12-0 whitewashing of Detroit on 6/23/1949, Byrne twirled a complete game shutout while allowing six bases on balls. Shortstop Johnny Lipon provided the lone hit for the Tigers with an eighth-inning single.

Roger Clemens registered 13 two-hitters in his career, but never held the opposition hitless. The “Rocket” managed a lone one-hitter during the regular season against Cleveland on 9/10/1988. Dave Clark spoiled Clemens’ no-hit bid with a single to center field in the top half of the eighth inning. In the 2000 ALCS, Clemens dominated the Mariners in Game 4 at Seattle, striking out 15 and yielding a double to Al Martin to begin the seventh frame.

Larry Cheney led the National League with a 26-10 record in 1912 and notched 20+ victories in three successive seasons (1912-14). During the summer of 1914, Cheney twice held the opposition to a single safety. Shortstop Marty Berghammer collected the lone base knock for the Reds on 7/1/1914. Braves’ backstop Hank Gowdy produced the only hit in a 1-0 loss to Cheney and the Cubs on 8/26/1914.

Al Downing fashioned a 13-5 record in his rookie season (1963) for the New York Yankees. Facing the White Sox on 7/2/1963, Downing allowed a single to Cam Carreon with two down in the seventh inning. The southpaw posted a 20-9 record for the Dodgers in 1971 and placed third in the NL Cy Young Award balloting.

Knuckleballer Charlie Hough held the opposing team to one hit twice in his career and he lost both contests. On 6/16/1986 the Rangers led the Angels 1-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth. With one out, George Wright, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement in left field, committed a three-base error on a ball hit by Jack Howell. Wally Joyner singled to break up the no-hitter, scoring Howell. Joyner advanced to second on a passed ball. Doug DeCinces whiffed and an intentional walk to Reggie Jackson set the stage for George Hendrick. On a 3-2 pitch, Hendrick swung and missed but the ball eluded catcher Orlando Mercado. Joyner scored from second base as Hough failed to cover home plate!

Mike Norris (22-9, 2.53) placed runner-up for the 1980 AL Cy Young Award and merited consecutive Gold Glove Awards in 1980-81. Opposing the Orioles on 5/9/1979, Norris held Baltimore hitless through 6.1 innings. With two runners aboard via error and base on balls, Gary Roenicke spoiled Norris’ no-hit bid with a double that knocked in both baserunners and knotted the score at 2-2. The Athletics argued the call at home plate, to no avail. Oakland scored twice in the ninth inning to prevail, 4-2.

Pitcher W L G GS IP H ERA WHIP HIP 0H 1H 2H
Sid Fernandez 114 96 307 300 1866.7 1421 3.36 1.144 0.761 0 0 5
J.R. Richard 107 71 238 221 1606.0 1227 3.15 1.243 0.764 0 1 6
Andy Messersmith 130 99 344 295 2230.3 1719 2.86 1.143 0.771 0 1 4
Sam McDowell 141 134 425 346 2492.3 1948 3.17 1.308 0.782 0 4 10
Pedro J. Martinez 219 100 476 409 2827.3 2221 2.93 1.054 0.786 0 3 6
Babe Ruth 94 46 163 148 1221.3 974 2.28 1.159 0.797 0 1 3
Bob Turley 101 85 310 237 1712.7 1366 3.64 1.421 0.798 0 4 8
Orval Overall 108 71 218 182 1535.3 1232 2.23 1.161 0.802 0
Ed Reulbach 182 106 399 300 2632.3 2117 2.28 1.143 0.804 0
Dave Boswell 68 56 205 151 1065.3 858 3.52 1.257 0.805 0 1 2
Mario Soto 100 92 297 224 1730.3 1395 3.47 1.186 0.806 0 2 1
Jack Pfiester 71 44 149 128 1067.3 869 2.02 1.089 0.814 0
Cy H. Morgan 78 78 210 172 1445.3 1180 2.51 1.216 0.816 0
Jose DeLeon 86 119 415 264 1897.3 1556 3.76 1.263 0.820 0 2 2
Rube Waddell 178 127 366 308 2659.7 2198 2.11 1.100 0.826 0
Chris R. Young 76 58 223 206 1179.0 979 3.69 1.208 0.830 0 0 1
Jake Weimer 97 69 191 180 1472.7 1227 2.23 1.168 0.833 0
Tommy Byrne 85 69 281 170 1362.0 1138 4.11 1.597 0.836 0 1 4
Fred Beebe 62 83 202 153 1294.3 1090 2.86 1.255 0.842 0
Doc Scanlan 65 71 181 149 1252.0 1061 3.00 1.333 0.847 0
Roger Clemens 354 184 709 707 4916.7 4185 3.12 1.173 0.851 0 1 13
Larry Cheney 116 100 313 225 1881.3 1605 2.70 1.243 0.853 0 2 2
Mordecai Brown 239 130 481 332 3172.3 2708 2.06 1.066 0.854 0
Carl Lundgren 91 55 179 149 1322.0 1129 2.42 1.214 0.854 0
Harry Coveleski 81 55 198 151 1248.0 1070 2.39 1.159 0.857 0
Al Downing 123 107 405 317 2268.3 1946 3.22 1.269 0.858 0 1 8
Jim Scott 107 113 317 226 1892.0 1624 2.30 1.180 0.858 0
Charlie Hough 216 216 858 440 3801.3 3283 3.75 1.302 0.864 0 2 5
Mike Norris 58 59 201 157 1124.3 972 3.89 1.308 0.865 0 1 0
Don Gullett 109 50 266 186 1390.0 1205 3.11 1.227 0.867 0 0 3
Bernie Boland 68 53 209 119 1062.0 925 3.25 1.278 0.871
Barney Pelty 92 117 266 217 1908.0 1663 2.63 1.150 0.872
Whitey Ford 236 106 498 438 3170.3 2766 2.75 1.215 0.872
Denny McLain 131 91 280 264 1886.0 1646 3.39 1.163 0.873
Reb Russell 81 59 242 148 1291.7 1128 2.33 1.080 0.873
Bob Veale 120 95 397 255 1926.0 1684 3.07 1.320 0.874
David Price 104 56 218 213 1441.7 1261 3.09 1.132 0.875
Lew Richie 74 65 241 136 1359.3 1190 2.54 1.240 0.875
Harry Harper 57 76 219 171 1256.0 1100 2.87 1.339 0.876
Bill Donovan 183 129 351 314 2820.7 2472 2.58 1.216 0.876
Jack Harshman 69 65 217 155 1169.3 1025 3.50 1.338 0.877
George McQuillan 85 89 273 173 1576.3 1382 2.38 1.131 0.877
Jack Coombs 158 110 354 270 2320.0 2034 2.78 1.239 0.877
Al Mamaux 76 67 254 140 1293.0 1138 2.90 1.275 0.880
Eddie Plank 326 194 623 529 4495.7 3958 2.35 1.119 0.880
Mickey McDermott 69 69 291 156 1316.7 1161 3.91 1.518 0.882
Luis Tiant 229 172 573 484 3486.3 3075 3.30 1.199 0.882
Madison Bumgarner 85 58 183 180 1171.0 1033 3.04 1.111 0.882
Rudy May 152 156 535 360 2622.0 2314 3.46 1.248 0.883
Ray Culp 122 101 322 268 1898.3 1677 3.58 1.280 0.883
John Smoltz 213 155 723 481 3473.0 3074 3.33 1.176 0.885
Jake Peavy 147 117 357 356 2258.3 2000 3.53 1.183 0.886
Fred Glade 52 68 132 126 1072.7 950 2.62 1.107 0.886
Howie Camnitz 133 106 326 236 2085.3 1852 2.75 1.203 0.888
Don Sutton 324 256 774 756 5282.3 4692 3.26 1.142 0.888
Juan Pizarro 131 105 488 245 2034.3 1807 3.43 1.325 0.888
Mat Latos 64 55 177 174 1068.3 949 3.51 1.183 0.888
Johnny Niggeling 64 69 184 161 1250.7 1111 3.22 1.301 0.888
Gio Gonzalez 91 66 217 211 1264.7 1124 3.62 1.317 0.889
Ferdie Schupp 61 39 216 120 1054.0 938 3.32 1.330 0.890
Vean Gregg 92 63 239 161 1393.0 1240 2.70 1.286 0.890
Earl Moore 162 154 388 326 2776.0 2474 2.78 1.290 0.891
Jack Chesbro 177 110 341 289 2532.0 2257 2.52 1.109 0.891
Lefty Tyler 127 116 323 265 2230.0 1990 2.95 1.264 0.892
Phil Marchildon 68 75 185 162 1214.3 1084 3.93 1.456 0.893
Johnny Cueto 96 70 226 226 1420.3 1268 3.30 1.181 0.893
Jean Dubuc 85 76 256 150 1444.3 1290 3.04 1.293 0.893
Hal Newhouser 207 150 488 374 2993.0 2674 3.06 1.311 0.893
Spud Chandler 109 43 211 184 1485.0 1327 2.84 1.205 0.894
Claude Hendrix 144 116 360 257 2371.3 2123 2.65 1.189 0.895
Steve Carlton 329 244 741 709 5217.3 4672 3.22 1.247 0.895
Willie Mitchell 84 92 276 190 1632.0 1464 2.88 1.268 0.897
Orlando Hernandez 90 65 219 211 1314.7 1181 4.13 1.263 0.898
Don Drysdale 209 166 518 465 3432.0 3084 2.95 1.148 0.899
Gary Nolan 110 70 250 247 1674.7 1505 3.08 1.145 0.899
Wally Bunker 60 52 206 152 1085.3 976 3.51 1.207 0.899

** Special Case ** (200+ Career Wins, 1000+ IP, H/IP < 1, Zero No-Hitters)

381 pitchers including several All-Time greats possess a H/IP ratio between .900 – 1.000. The truncated list below highlights those who collected at least 200 victories and pitched 1000+ innings in their careers without throwing at least one complete game no-hitter.

Pitcher W L G GS IP H ERA WHIP HIP 0H 1H 2H
Billy Pierce 211 169 585 432 3306.7 2989 3.27 1.260 0.904
Curt Schilling 216 146 569 436 3261.0 2998 3.46 1.137 0.919
Fergie Jenkins 284 226 664 594 4500.7 4142 3.34 1.142 0.920
Mickey Lolich 217 191 586 496 3638.3 3366 3.44 1.227 0.925
Bob Welch 211 146 506 462 3092.0 2894 3.47 1.270 0.936
Pete Alexander 373 208 696 599 5190.0 4868 2.56 1.121 0.938
Orel Hershiser 204 150 510 466 3130.3 2939 3.48 1.261 0.939
Early Wynn 300 244 691 612 4564.0 4291 3.54 1.329 0.940
Greg Maddux 355 227 744 740 5008.3 4726 3.16 1.143 0.944
Tim Hudson 222 133 482 479 3126.7 2957 3.49 1.239 0.946
Jerry Koosman 222 209 612 527 3839.3 3635 3.36 1.259 0.947
C.C. Sabathia 214 129 452 452 2988.7 2831 3.69 1.246 0.947
Jim Perry 215 174 630 447 3285.7 3127 3.45 1.255 0.952
Chuck Finley 200 173 524 467 3197.3 3069 3.85 1.376 0.960
Carl Mays 207 126 490 325 3021.3 2912 2.92 1.207 0.964
Joe Niekro 221 204 702 500 3584.0 3466 3.59 1.319 0.967
Frank Tanana 240 236 638 616 4188.3 4063 3.66 1.270 0.970
Mike Mussina 270 153 537 536 3562.7 3460 3.68 1.192 0.971
Tom Glavine 305 203 682 682 4413.3 4298 3.54 1.314 0.974
Lefty Grove 300 141 616 457 3940.7 3849 3.06 1.278 0.977
Tim Wakefield 200 180 627 463 3226.3 3152 4.41 1.350 0.977
Robin Roberts 286 245 676 609 4688.7 4582 3.41 1.170 0.977
Wilbur Cooper 216 178 517 408 3480.0 3415 2.89 1.226 0.981
Red Ruffing 273 225 624 536 4344.0 4284 3.80 1.341 0.986
Stan Coveleski 215 142 450 385 3082.0 3055 2.89 1.251 0.991

** Special Case ** (less than 50% games started, career)

Pitcher W L G GS IP H ERA WHIP HIP 0H 1H 2H
Kerry Wood 86 75 446 178 1380.0 1083 3.67 1.267 0.785 0 2 1

Worst Pitchers, Hits per Innings Pitched (Career) with One or More No-Hitters

(minimum 1000 IP) 

The top nine members in the subsequent table compiled a career WHIP above 1.340.

Charlie Robertson amassed a 49-80 record with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.518 WHIP during parts of eight seasons, primarily for the White Sox. Yet for one brief moment he achieved perfection, on April 30, 1922 at Navin Field. Confronting a Detroit lineup which featured Ty Cobb (.401/4/99), Bobby Veach (.327/9/126) and Harry Heilmann (.356/21/92), Robertson captivated the Tigers’ batsmen en route to a perfect game.

Terry Mulholland notched a career-high 16 victories in 1991 and earned All-Star status two years later for the Phillies. His career totals (124-142, 4.41) are rather pedestrian but he was hitting on all cylinders during a Giants-Phillies matchup at Veterans Stadium on August 15, 1990.  The San Francisco batting order, highlighted by 3-4-5 hitters Will “The Thrill” Clark (.295/19/95), Kevin “World” Mitchell (.290/35/93) and Matt D. Williams (.277/33/122) was baffled by the portsider’s array of pitches. Mulholland lost his perfect game bid when Rick Parker reached base on Charlie Hayes’ error to start the seventh inning, but he secured the no-hitter when pinch-hitter Gary Carter lined out to Hayes to end the game.

Scott Erickson (20-8, 3.18) and Jim Abbott (18-11, 2.89) finished second and third, respectively, in the 1991 AL Cy Young Award race. Erickson received his lone All-Star nod in the same season. Two years later he posted League-worsts with 19 losses and 266 base hits allowed. On April 27, 1994 Erickson fashioned a no-hitter against Greg Vaughn (.244/27/98) and the Milwaukee Brewers. Abbott squared off against a formidable Indians squad on September 4, 1993. The Tribe lineup included Kenny Lofton (.325, 70 SB), Carlos Baerga (.321/21/114), Albert Belle (.290/38/129) along with talented prospects Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. The southpaw issued five walks but induced 15 ground outs to secure the no-hitter.

Wes Ferrell registered 20 or more victories in a season six times. He also granted 100+ bases on balls in seven campaigns and delivered a 4.04 ERA and a 1.481 WHIP for his career. Opposing Goose Goslin (.328/24/105), his brother Rick and the Browns on April 29, 1931, Ferrell composed his finest outing as he whitewashed St. Louis 9-0. Three-time twenty-game winner Ted Lyons contained a pedestrian Red Sox offense on August 21, 1926 at Fenway Park. Fellow Hall of Fame hurler Jesse “Pop” Haines executed his no-hitter under comparable conditions against the Braves on July 17, 1924.

Following a 21-9 record in his sophomore year (albeit with a 4.63 ERA and 1.564 WHIP) Vern Kennedy recorded five consecutive seasons with an ERA above 5.00 and a cumulative WHIP of 1.712! He maintained his starting role despite yielding 549 walks while striking out only 329 batsmen during that timeframe. Towards the tail end of his inaugural campaign on August 31, 1935, Kennedy perplexed an Indians’ lineup comprised of Hall of Fame outfielder Earl Averill, Joe Vosmik (.348/10/110) and Hal Trosky (.271/26/113).

The lone active pitcher on the list below, Edwin Jackson received an All-Star invitation in 2009 when he registered a 13-9 mark with a 3.62 ERA. His career statistics entering the 2016 season are unexceptional, including a 4.58 ERA and 1.448 WHIP to accompany an 88-107 record. Taking the mound for the Diamondbacks on June 25, 2010, Jackson conceded eight free passes to the Rays while holding them hitless.

Mark Buehrle was nearly perfect on April 18, 2007 versus Texas. Rangers DH Sammy Sosa drew a one-out walk in the fifth inning, but Buehrle promptly picked him off.  Two years later, he notched a perfecto against the Rays on July 23, 2009. Tampa Bay’s lineup consisted of All-Stars Carl Crawford (.305/15/68), Evan Longoria (.281/33/113) and Ben Zobrist (.297/27/91). Eric Milton held the Angels hitless on September 11, 1999, conceding the fact that the Halos lineup was littered with recent minor league call-ups.

Bill Dietrich persevered through 16 Major League seasons despite a 4.48 ERA and 1.501 WHIP for his career. “Bullfrog” twirled his no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns on June 1, 1937, allowing three baserunners (two bases on balls in the sixth inning and Beau Bell reached on an error in the seventh frame). Dick Fowler compiled a winning record in three consecutive seasons (1947-49) for the Philadelphia Athletics even though he recorded more than 100 walks to strikeouts (276-168) during that timeframe. Fowler fashioned a 1-0 no-hitter versus Vern Stephens (.289/24/89) and the Browns in the second game of a doubleheader on September 9, 1945.

Pitcher W L G GS IP H ERA WHIP HIP 0H
Charlie Robertson 49 80 166 142 1005.0 1149 4.44 1.518 1.143 1
Terry Mulholland 124 142 685 332 2575.7 2833 4.41 1.364 1.100 1
Scott Erickson 142 136 389 364 2360.7 2586 4.59 1.462 1.095 1
Wes Ferrell 193 128 374 323 2623.0 2845 4.04 1.481 1.085 1
Ted Lyons 260 230 594 484 4161.0 4489 3.67 1.348 1.079 1
Jesse Haines 210 158 555 388 3208.7 3460 3.64 1.350 1.078 1
Vern Kennedy 104 132 344 263 2025.7 2173 4.67 1.591 1.073 1
Jim Abbott 87 108 263 254 1674.0 1779 4.25 1.433 1.063 1
Edwin Jackson 88 107 340 262 1640.3 1736 4.58 1.448 1.058 1
Mark Buehrle 214 160 518 493 3283.3 3472 3.81 1.281 1.057 2
David Wells 239 157 660 489 3439.0 3635 4.13 1.266 1.057 1
Bill Dietrich 108 128 366 253 2003.7 2117 4.48 1.501 1.057 1
Eric Milton 89 85 271 270 1582.3 1665 4.99 1.339 1.052 1
Sam Jones 229 217 647 487 3883.0 4084 3.84 1.411 1.052 1
Dick Fowler 66 79 221 170 1303.0 1367 4.11 1.493 1.049 1
Kenny Rogers 219 156 762 474 3302.7 3457 4.27 1.403 1.047 1
Jesse Barnes 152 150 422 314 2569.7 2686 3.22 1.246 1.045 1
Lew Burdette 203 144 626 373 3067.3 3186 3.66 1.243 1.039 1
George Mogridge 132 131 398 261 2265.7 2352 3.21 1.287 1.038 1
Derek Lowe 176 157 681 377 2671.3 2759 4.03 1.330 1.033 1
Rick Wise 188 181 506 455 3127.0 3227 3.69 1.289 1.032 1
Clyde Shoun 73 59 454 85 1287.0 1325 3.91 1.343 1.030 1
Chris Bosio 94 93 309 246 1710.0 1742 3.96 1.300 1.019 1
Howard Ehmke 166 166 427 339 2820.7 2873 3.75 1.388 1.019 1
Kevin Millwood 169 152 451 443 2720.3 2770 4.11 1.328 1.018 1
Jerry Reuss 220 191 628 547 3669.7 3734 3.64 1.325 1.018 1
Bill Monbouquette 114 112 343 263 1961.7 1995 3.68 1.253 1.017 1
Jack Kralick 67 65 235 169 1218.0 1238 3.56 1.278 1.016 1
Jim Tobin 105 112 287 227 1900.0 1929 3.44 1.308 1.015 1
Tex Carleton 100 76 293 202 1607.3 1630 3.91 1.363 1.014 1
Jim Colborn 83 88 301 204 1597.3 1619 3.80 1.311 1.014 1
Kevin Gross 142 158 474 368 2487.7 2519 4.11 1.409 1.013 1
Tom Browning 123 90 302 300 1921.0 1931 3.94 1.271 1.005 1
Bob Moose 76 71 289 160 1304.3 1308 3.50 1.300 1.003 1
Dick Bosman 82 85 306 229 1591.0 1594 3.67 1.261 1.002 1

One or More No-Hitters, Less Than 1000 Innings Pitched (Career) *

Many of the pitchers in the subsequent listing experienced brief Major League careers due to injury or ineffectiveness, yet they achieved some measure of fame from their no-hit efforts.

Athletics’ southpaw Dallas Braden (career record of 26-36, 4.16 ERA, 1.325 WHIP) delivered a perfecto on May 9, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Philip Humber (career record of 16-23, 5.31 ERA, 1.420 WHIP) twirled a perfect game at Seattle on April 21, 2012 as a member of the White Sox.

Bobo Holloman supplied a no-hitter in his first Major League starting assignment versus the Philadelphia Athletics on May 6, 1953. Holloman’s 1.821 WHIP during his lone big-league campaign earned him a return trip to the minors. He accrued 65.1 innings pitched for the Browns, the lowest total career IP for all hurlers with a no-hitter to their credit since 1901. Redbirds’ rookie lefthander Bud Smith tossed 134 pitches but conceded zero safeties against the Padres on September 3, 2001. Smith placed fourth in the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year balloting but faltered in his sophomore campaign, notching only one victory in 10 starts with a 6.94 ERA and a 1.854 WHIP.

The 1983 White Sox cruised to the title in the American League Western Division but the Chicago offense was confounded by Mike Warren on September 29, 1983. The Pale Hose lineup encompassed four batsmen with 20+ home runs including future Hall of Fame backstop Carlton “Pudge” Fisk along with the 1983 AL Rookie of the Year, Ron Kittle (.254/35/100). Warren furnished a 1.051 WHIP in 12 appearances (9 starts) in his inaugural season but his control deserted him. His ERA ballooned to 5.50 in 1984-85 with a corresponding rise in WHIP to 1.712.

Date                      Pitcher

 

9/20/1902            Nixey Callahan

7/22/1905            Weldon Henley

7/20/1906            Mal Eason

5/8/1907              Frank Pfeffer

9/20/1907            Nick Maddox

9/9/1914              Iron Davis

6/16/1916            Tom L. Hughes

6/21/1916            Rube Foster

5/5/1917              Ernie Koob

5/11/1919            Hod Eller

8/8/1931              Bobby Burke

9/21/1934            Paul Dean

4/23/1946            Ed Head

7/10/1947            Don Black

9/3/1947              Bill McCahan

9/9/1948              Rex Barney

5/6/1951              Cliff Chambers

5/6/1953              Bobo Holloman

8/20/1957            Bob Keegan

5/5/1962              Bo Belinsky

5/17/1963            Don Nottebart

9/16/1965            Dave Morehead

7/29/1968            George Culver

5/10/1981            Charlie Lea

9/29/1983            Mike Warren

9/19/1986            Joe Cowley

4/15/1987            Juan Nieves

5/23/1991            Tommy Greene

6/25/1999            Jose Jimenez

9/3/2001              Bud Smith

7/10/2009            Jonathan Sanchez

5/9/2010              Dallas Braden (Perfect Game)

4/21/2012            Philip Humber (Perfect Game)

9/29/2013            Henderson Alvarez *

6/9/2015              Chris Heston *

8/12/2015            Hisashi Iwakuma *

8/21/2015            Mike Fiers *

8/30/2015            Jake Arrieta *

4/21/2016            Jake Arrieta *

 (* indicates active player entering 2016 season)

 

Best Pitchers, Hits per Innings Pitched (Career) with One or More No-Hitters

(minimum 1000 IP)

Pitcher W L G GS IP H ERA WHIP HIP 0H
Nolan Ryan 324 292 807 773 5386.0 3923 3.19 1.247 0.728 7
Clayton Kershaw 114 56 244 242 1611.0 1198 2.43 1.033 0.744 1
Sandy Koufax 165 87 397 314 2324.3 1754 2.76 1.106 0.755 4
Hoyt Wilhelm 143 122 1070 52 2254.3 1757 2.52 1.125 0.779 1
Ed Walsh 195 126 430 315 2964.3 2346 1.82 1.000 0.791 1
Joe Wood 117 57 225 158 1436.3 1138 2.03 1.085 0.792 1
Jeff Tesreau 115 72 247 206 1679.0 1350 2.43 1.145 0.804 1
Randy D. Johnson 303 166 618 603 4135.3 3346 3.29 1.171 0.809 2
Addie Joss 160 97 286 260 2327.0 1888 1.89 0.968 0.811 2
Jim Maloney 134 84 302 262 1849.0 1518 3.19 1.259 0.821 2
Tom Seaver 311 205 656 647 4782.7 3971 2.86 1.121 0.830 1
Walter Johnson 417 279 802 666 5914.7 4913 2.17 1.061 0.831 1
Bob Gibson 251 174 528 482 3884.3 3279 2.91 1.188 0.844 1
Don Wilson 104 92 266 245 1748.3 1479 3.15 1.212 0.846 2
Jim Palmer 268 152 558 521 3948.0 3349 2.86 1.180 0.848 1
Matt Cain 97 99 294 291 1872.0 1589 3.47 1.186 0.849 1
Johan Santana 139 78 360 284 2025.7 1726 3.20 1.132 0.852 1
Sam Jones 102 101 322 222 1643.3 1403 3.59 1.354 0.854 1
Bob Feller 266 162 570 484 3827.0 3271 3.25 1.316 0.855 3
Johnny Vander Meer 119 121 346 285 2104.7 1799 3.44 1.393 0.855 2
Catfish Hunter 224 166 500 476 3449.3 2958 3.26 1.134 0.858 1
Tom Phoebus 56 52 201 149 1030.0 888 3.33 1.337 0.862 1
David Cone 194 126 450 419 2898.7 2504 3.46 1.256 0.864 1
Dean Chance 128 115 406 294 2147.3 1864 2.92 1.212 0.868 1
Frank Smith 139 111 354 255 2273.0 1975 2.59 1.166 0.869 2
Ewell Blackwell 82 78 236 169 1321.0 1150 3.30 1.296 0.871 1
Carlos Zambrano 132 91 354 302 1959.0 1709 3.66 1.331 0.872 1
Tim Lincecum 108 83 269 261 1643.7 1438 3.61 1.268 0.875 2
Cy Young 225 146 401 369 3313.0 2900 2.12 1.000 0.875 2
Chief Bender 212 127 459 334 3017.0 2645 2.46 1.113 0.877 1
Vida Blue 209 161 502 473 3343.3 2939 3.27 1.233 0.879 1
Nap Rucker 134 134 336 272 2375.3 2089 2.42 1.175 0.879 1
Allie Reynolds 182 107 434 309 2492.3 2193 3.30 1.386 0.880 2
Christy Mathewson 373 185 629 550 4747.0 4181 2.11 1.054 0.881 2
Max Scherzer 105 62 240 231 1468.0 1298 3.46 1.172 0.884 1
Dave Stieb 176 137 443 412 2895.3 2572 3.44 1.245 0.888 1
Francisco Liriano 88 79 254 227 1350.0 1200 3.97 1.311 0.889 1
Cole Hamels 121 91 307 306 2013.7 1794 3.31 1.147 0.891 1
Sonny Siebert 140 114 399 307 2152.0 1919 3.21 1.213 0.892 1
Ramon Martinez 135 88 301 297 1895.7 1691 3.67 1.311 0.892 1
Felix Hernandez 143 101 334 334 2262.3 2019 3.11 1.171 0.892 1
Jered Weaver 138 81 291 291 1847.0 1652 3.40 1.159 0.894 1
Hideo Nomo 123 109 323 318 1976.3 1768 4.24 1.354 0.895 1
Hooks Wiltse 139 90 357 226 2112.3 1892 2.47 1.131 0.896 1
Bill Singer 118 127 322 308 2174.0 1952 3.39 1.257 0.898 1
Bob Lemon 207 128 460 350 2850.0 2559 3.23 1.337 0.898 1
Mike Scott 124 108 347 319 2068.7 1858 3.54 1.201 0.898 1
Eddie Cicotte 208 149 502 361 3223.3 2897 2.38 1.155 0.899 1
Juan Marichal 243 142 471 457 3507.3 3153 2.89 1.101 0.899 1
Al Leiter 162 132 419 382 2391.0 2152 3.80 1.386 0.900 1
Justin Verlander 157 97 318 318 2111.3 1901 3.52 1.204 0.900 2
Virgil Trucks 177 135 517 328 2682.3 2416 3.39 1.306 0.901 2
Joe Benz 76 75 251 163 1359.7 1225 2.43 1.147 0.901 1
Ubaldo Jimenez 100 94 269 265 1585.0 1438 4.01 1.360 0.907 1
Earl Wilson 121 109 338 310 2051.7 1863 3.69 1.296 0.908 1
Jim Bibby 111 101 340 239 1722.7 1565 3.76 1.328 0.908 1
Jimmy Lavender 63 76 224 142 1207.3 1097 3.09 1.279 0.909 1
Larry Dierker 139 123 356 329 2333.7 2130 3.31 1.217 0.913 1
Jim Bunning 224 184 591 519 3760.3 3433 3.27 1.179 0.913 1
Joe Horlen 116 117 361 290 2002.0 1829 3.11 1.190 0.914 1
Dwight Gooden 194 112 430 410 2800.7 2564 3.51 1.256 0.915 1
Dave Righetti 82 79 718 89 1403.7 1287 3.46 1.338 0.917 1
Bill Dinneen 127 127 285 253 2244.7 2065 2.78 1.156 0.920 1
Warren Spahn 363 245 750 665 5243.7 4830 3.09 1.195 0.921 2
A.J. Burnett 164 157 435 430 2731.3 2519 3.99 1.325 0.922 1
Dutch Leonard 139 113 331 272 2192.0 2022 2.76 1.225 0.922 2
Gaylord Perry 314 265 777 690 5350.3 4938 3.11 1.181 0.923 1
Sal Maglie 119 62 303 232 1723.0 1591 3.15 1.250 0.923 1
Fred Toney 139 102 336 271 2206.0 2037 2.69 1.188 0.923 1
Josh Beckett 138 106 335 332 2051.0 1897 3.88 1.232 0.925 1
Fernando Valenzuela 173 153 453 424 2930.0 2718 3.54 1.320 0.928 1
Wilson Alvarez 102 92 355 263 1747.7 1624 3.96 1.390 0.929 1
Jon Lester 127 79 285 284 1801.0 1675 3.55 1.259 0.930 1
Ray Caldwell 133 120 343 260 2242.0 2089 3.22 1.261 0.932 1
Bert Blyleven 287 250 692 685 4970.0 4632 3.31 1.198 0.932 1
Jack Morris 254 186 549 527 3824.0 3567 3.90 1.296 0.933 1
Phil Niekro 318 274 864 716 5404.3 5044 3.35 1.268 0.933 1
Dennis Eckersley 197 171 1071 361 3285.7 3076 3.50 1.161 0.936 1
Burt Hooton 151 136 480 377 2652.0 2497 3.38 1.243 0.942 1
Johnny Lush 66 85 182 154 1239.3 1169 2.68 1.276 0.943 1
Bob Groom 119 150 367 288 2336.3 2205 3.10 1.279 0.944 1
Noodles Hahn 91 66 166 160 1409.0 1330 2.36 1.103 0.944 1
Kevin Brown 211 144 486 476 3256.3 3079 3.28 1.222 0.946 1
Steve Busby 70 54 167 150 1060.7 1003 3.72 1.354 0.946 2
Don Cardwell 102 138 410 301 2122.7 2009 3.92 1.263 0.946 1
Dazzy Vance 197 140 442 347 2966.7 2809 3.24 1.230 0.947 1
Clay Buchholz 73 51 169 167 1028.3 974 3.85 1.299 0.947 1
Ed Halicki 55 66 192 157 1063.0 1007 3.62 1.262 0.947 1
Bob Rhoads 97 82 218 185 1691.7 1604 2.61 1.240 0.948 1
Anibal Sanchez 80 74 221 219 1334.0 1266 3.70 1.289 0.949 1
John Candelaria 177 122 600 356 2525.7 2399 3.33 1.184 0.950 1
Dave Stewart 168 129 523 348 2629.7 2499 3.95 1.344 0.950 1
Carl Erskine 122 78 335 216 1718.7 1637 4.00 1.328 0.952 2
George Mullin 228 196 487 428 3686.7 3518 2.82 1.290 0.954 1
Bill Stoneman 54 85 245 170 1236.3 1182 4.08 1.443 0.956 2
Milt Pappas 209 164 520 465 3186.0 3046 3.40 1.225 0.956 1
Bret Saberhagen 167 117 399 371 2562.7 2452 3.34 1.141 0.957 1
Jordan Zimmermann 70 50 178 178 1094.0 1047 3.32 1.159 0.957 1
Jesse Tannehill 118 74 220 202 1705.7 1639 2.56 1.125 0.961 1
Jim Wilson 86 89 257 217 1539.0 1479 4.01 1.356 0.961 1
Ken T. Johnson 91 106 334 231 1737.3 1670 3.46 1.199 0.961 1
Roy Halladay 203 105 416 390 2749.3 2646 3.38 1.178 0.962 2
Carl Hubbell 253 154 535 431 3590.3 3461 2.98 1.166 0.964 1
Matt Garza 81 89 247 243 1494.3 1443 3.99 1.300 0.966 1
Vern Bickford 66 57 182 149 1076.3 1040 3.71 1.400 0.966 1
Joe Bush 195 183 489 366 3087.3 2992 3.51 1.378 0.969 1
Ervin Santana 126 105 316 313 1990.7 1931 4.16 1.284 0.970 1
John Montefusco 90 83 298 244 1652.3 1604 3.54 1.281 0.971 1
Clyde Wright 100 111 329 235 1728.7 1679 3.50 1.289 0.971 1
Dock Ellis 138 119 345 317 2127.7 2067 3.46 1.288 0.971 1
Chick Fraser 103 125 259 226 1981.3 1925 3.30 1.347 0.972 1
Ken Holtzman 174 150 451 410 2867.3 2787 3.49 1.289 0.972 2
Ken Forsch 114 113 521 241 2127.3 2071 3.37 1.249 0.974 1
Monte Pearson 100 61 224 191 1429.7 1392 4.00 1.491 0.974 1
Len Barker 74 76 248 194 1323.7 1289 4.34 1.361 0.974 1
Dennis Martinez 245 193 692 562 3999.7 3897 3.70 1.266 0.974 1
Rube Marquard 201 177 536 403 3306.7 3233 3.08 1.237 0.978 1
Mel Parnell 123 75 289 232 1752.7 1715 3.50 1.411 0.979 1
Lon Warneke 192 121 445 343 2782.3 2726 3.18 1.245 0.980 1
Mike Witt 117 116 341 299 2108.3 2066 3.83 1.318 0.980 1
Darryl Kile 133 119 359 331 2165.3 2135 4.12 1.410 0.986 1
Kent Mercker 74 67 692 150 1325.3 1307 4.16 1.444 0.986 1
Homer Bailey 58 51 168 168 1010.0 999 4.19 1.311 0.989 2
Earl Hamilton 116 147 410 261 2342.7 2319 3.16 1.320 0.990 1
Bob Forsch 168 136 498 422 2794.7 2777 3.76 1.291 0.994 2
Ray Washburn 72 64 239 166 1209.7 1208 3.53 1.291 0.999 1

 

References and Resources

Albert, Jim and Max Marchi. Analyzing Baseball Data with R. Boca Raton, FL.: CRC Press, 2014. Print.

Baseball-Reference

Paper of Record – Sporting News –  Box Scores and Game Accounts

Retrosheet – No Hitters Alphabetically by Pitcher

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

SABR Baseball Biography Project

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive

About the Author

I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family.

My book “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of “Hardball Retrospective” are accessible here.

** Article amended on July 22, 2016 @ 9:15 am **

  • added link to GoogleDocs spreadsheet which contains the entire list of qualifying pitchers
  • added table – “** Special Case ** (200+ Career Wins, 1000+ IP, H/IP < 1, Zero No-Hitters)”

Comments

One Response to “The Best Pitchers Who Never Threw A No-Hitter”
  1. Tom Tomsick says:

    Not surprised to see McDowell, Tiant, Siebert on the lists. Wonder who would be on the list of the top 25 trios of the above “best” pitchers who were teammates for 5 or more years, whether they threw a no-no or not.

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