Gallery: Pitchers with multiple no-hitters
On July 2, Reds righthander Homer Bailey became the 31st pitcher in major league history to throw multiple no-hitters (not counting combined no-hitters) when he held the Giants hitless a little more than nine months after doing the same in Pittsburgh. Here, then, is a look back at the 26 men in modern history — from Cy Young to Cy Young winners and everyone in between — who share that distinction. (Hat tip to the SABR Baseball Biography Project and Baseball-Reference.com for helping with the research in the text below the gallery.)
Cy Young: Sept. 18, 1897 and May 5, 1904
Five 19th century hurlers threw two no-hitters, but all-time wins leader Cy Young was the first to do so with one of those no-nos coming in the 20th century. He was also the first man with multiple no-hitters to throw a perfect game. The 37-year-old Young was perfect in his 1904 no-no for Boston, which was also just the second no-hitter in American League history.
Christy Mathewson: July 15, 1901 and June 13, 1905
Mathewson’s first no-hitter came in his rookie season, but his second was the more notable performance. Just two Cubs reached base against Matty in that game, both on errors, and the Giants didn’t score until the top of the ninth with shortstop Bill Dahlen, one of the offending fielders, driving in the winning run in a 1-0 victory.
Frank Smith: Sept. 6, 1905 and Sept. 20, 1908
Nicknamed “Piano Mover,” or simply Piano Smith, for his boast that he could “carry a baby grand up four flights of stairs without a rest,” the spitballing Smith was a stalwart for the White Sox in the first decade of the 20th century, though ill-timed struggles kept him out of the 1906 World Series. His first no-hitter came in the second game of a doubleheader against the Tigers which Chicago won 15-0, still the most lopsided score in a no-hitter since 1884. He second was a 1-0 win against the Athletics on a walkoff infield single.
Addie Joss: Oct. 2, 1908 and April 20, 1910
Joss died of a bacterial infection at age 31 less than a year after his second no-hitter. At the time of his death, the Cleveland ace boasted a 1.89 career ERA and a 0.97 WHIP, which still stand second and first all-time, respectively, though it wasn’t until 1978 that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a veteran’s committee selection. Joss’ two no-hitters, the first of which was a perfect game, both came against the White Sox, making him the only pitcher ever to no-hit the same team twice.
Dutch Leonard: Aug. 30 1916 and June 3, 1918
Leonard’s 0.96 ERA in 224 2/3 innings in his sophomore season of 1914 still stands as the modern single-season record for a qualified pitcher and is just one of two qualified ERA’s below 1.00 in major league history (Tim Keefe posted a 0.86 mark in 1880). His second no-hitter was one of three shutouts he threw in six starts in June 1918, after which he left the eventual world champion Red Sox for the Fore River (Massachusetts) Shipyard team in order to circumvent the draft for World War I.
Johnny Vander Meer: June 11 and 15, 1938
The 23-year-old Reds’ lefty earned the nickname “Double No-Hit” when he became the first, and still only, man to throw no-hitters in consecutive starts. The latter no-hitter came in the first night game ever at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field and saw Vander Meer walk eight Dodgers.
Bob Feller: April 16, 1940; April 30, 1946 and July 1, 1951
Feller’s first no-hitter remains the only Opening Day no-no in major league history, and his third made him the first modern pitcher to pitch three no-hit games (Larry Corcoran, no relation, threw three between 1880 and 1884). That third game was tied 1-1 for five innings after the Tigers scored an unearned run in the fourth inning on an error, a stolen base, a throwing error on the steal, and a sacrifice fly. The Indians ultimately won 2-1 after plating Sam Chapman, who had tripled, in the eighth.
Allie Reynolds: July 12 and Sept. 28, 1951
In 1951, Yankees fireballer Reynolds became just the second man ever to throw two no-hitters in a single season. The first saw him out-duel Feller 1-0 just two turns after Feller’s third no-no. The second came in Reynolds’ final start of the regular season in the first game of a doubleheader against the Red Sox.
Virgil Trucks: May 5 and Aug. 25, 1952
Trucks’ two no-hitters were both more dramatic than even the typical no-no. In his first, his Tigers failed to score against Senators starter Bob Porterfield until Vic Wertz hit a walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the latter, against the Yankees, Phil Rizzuto reached base on a grounder to shortstop to start the third. The play was initially ruled an error, then switched to a hit. It was only after official scorer John Drebinger called down to the Tigers bench to talk to shortstop Johnny Pesky that he switched the ruling back to an error, allowing Trucks to complete the no-hitter. In between those two games, on July 22, Trucks threw a 10-strikeout one-hitter against Washington in which the only hit he allowed was to the first batter of the game.
Carl Erskine: June 19, 1952 and May 12, 1956
If not for a lone third-inning walk to the opposing pitcher, Oisk’s first no-hitter for the Brooklyn Dodgers, which was interrupted by a 40-minute rain delay, would have been the first perfect game in 30 years. His second, against the rival Giants, saw him walk just two men.
Jim Bunning: July 20, 1958 and June 21, 1964
Both of future U.S. Senator Bunning’s no-hitters came in the first games of doubleheaders, the latter being a perfect game on Fathers Day at the brand new Shea Stadium amid the Phillies’ ultimately ill-fated pennant run of 1964. Bunning, who threw his first no-hitter as a member of the Tigers, is the first man on this list since Cy Young to throw his two no-hitters for different teams. Both he and Young threw one in each league.
Warren Spahn: Sept. 6, 1960 and April 28, 1961
Spahn faced the minimum 27 batters in his second no-hitter, erasing both men he walked on double plays. In his first, just six starts earlier (albeit the previous season), he shocked his teammates by blurting out mid-game “All right, just nobody say I’ve got a no-hitter going.”
Sandy Koufax: June 2, 1962; May 11, 1963; June 4, 1964 and Sept. 9, 1965
Koufax is the only man ever to throw a no-hitter in four consecutive seasons,, and each was better than the last. He walked five men in 1962 and two men against just four strikeouts in 1963, but in 1964 he faced the minimum 27 batters by erasing the only walk he allowed with a caught stealing. In 1965, he was perfect and struck out 14 men, the most in any of his no-hitters. Koufax had to be perfect that day: The Dodgers got only one hit themselves and scored the game’s lone run without a hit in the fifth.
Jim Maloney: Aug. 19, 1965 and April 30, 1969
Maloney’s first no-hitter lasted 10 innings and saw him walk 10 and strike out 12. The Reds beat the Cubs in that game on a home run by shortstop Leo Cardenas in the top of the 10th. Maloney’s second no-hitter was comparatively stress-free as he walked just five men as Cincinnati beat the Astros 10-0 in the usual nine innings. Two months before his first no-hitter, Maloney threw 10 no-hit innings against the Mets in which he walked just one man, but the Reds couldn’t score in that game either and Maloney gave up a home run to the first batter in the top of the 11th and lost 1-0.
Don Wilson: June 18, 1967 and May 1, 1969
Wilson’s first no-hitter came in his 15th career game and 14th start and saw him tie Spahn’s then-no-hitter record with 15 strikeouts. His second no-hitter was the second game of a two-game series between the Astros and the Reds. The first game of that series was Maloney’s second no-hitter, marking the only time in major league history that no-hitters were thrown on consecutive days in the same ballpark (Cincinnati’s Crosley Field).
Bill Stoneman: April 17, 1969 and Oct. 2, 1972
Stoneman’s first no-hitter came in his fifth career start and the ninth game in Montreal Expos history. His second, which came in his final start of the 1972 season, was the first major league no-hitter ever thrown in Canada (his first came on the road in Philadelphia).
Ken Holtzman: Aug. 19, 1969 and June 3, 1971
Holtzman, a Cubs lefty, struck out 176 men in 1969, but not one of those strikeouts occurred in his first no-hitter, which was just the second ever completed without the aid of a strikeout (Sad Sam Jones’ no-no in 1923 was the first), a trick which has not been turned since. In his second no-hitter, Holtzman beat the Reds 1-0 and scored the only run of the game after reaching on an error in the third inning.
Steve Busby: April 27, 1973, June 19, 1974
The Royals’ Busby was the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter without having to bat, thanks to the American League’s new designated-hitter rule. In his second no-hitter he allowed just one baserunner, a leadoff walk to Milwaukee’s George Scott in the second inning.
Nolan Ryan: May 15, 1973; July 15, 1973; Sept. 28, 1974; June 1, 1975; Sept. 26, 1981; June 11, 1990 and May 1, 1991
Only three men in modern history have thrown more than two no-hitters and Ryan has as many as the other two, Koufax and Feller, combined. Koufax broke Feller’s record with no-hitters in four consecutive years. Ryan tied Koufax’s record with four no-hitters in three years, a span over which 40 percent of the batters Ryan faced walked or struck out while only 17 percent hit safely (for an even .200 batting average over those three seasons). His last no-hitter came at the age of 44, making him the oldest man ever to throw one. Ryan is the only pitcher ever to strike out more than 15 men while throwing a no-hitter. He struck out 17 in his second and 16 in his last.
Bob Forsch: April 16, 1978 and Sept. 26, 1983
Forsch didn’t walk anyone in his second no-hitter, but two men did reach base, both in the second inning. With two outs, Forsch hit Gary Carter with a pitch, after which second baseman Ken Oberkfell made an error on Chris Speier’s ground ball to put runners on the corners. Forsch then struck out Angel Salazar to strand the runners and went on to retire the last 22 batters he faced in order.
Randy Johnson: June 2, 1990 and May 18, 2004
The almost 14-year gap between Johnson’s no-hitter for the Mariners and his perfect game for the Diamondbacks is by far the longest between no-hitters for a single pitcher in major league history, and the difference between the two games is telling. The 26-year-old Johnson had yet to fully harness his talent in 1990 when he led the majors with 120 walks, including six in his no-hitter, but by the time of his 13-strikeout perfecto in his age-40 season of 2004, he had won five Cy Young awards and was well established as one of the greatest lefthanded pitchers in major league history.
Hideo Nomo: Sept. 17, 1996 and April 4, 2001
Nomo remains the only Japanese-born pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the major leagues, though Yu Darvish came tantalizingly close in his first start this season, missing a perfect game by a single out. Nomo’s second no-hitter came in his first start with the Red Sox after signing with Boston as a free agent and remains the no-hitter to occur earliest in the year (per the calendar, not the schedule).
Mark Buehrle: April 18, 2007 and July 23, 2009
Buehrle faced the minimum 27 batters in his two no-hitters, both of which came with the White Sox. The latter was a perfect game (famously saved by Dewayne Wise stealing a home run from Tampa Bay’s Gabe Kapler to start the ninth inning). The former saw him walk the Rangers’ Sammy Sosa with one out in the fifth then pick him off first base, one of the hallmarks of Buehrle’s career. After his perfect game, Buehrle retired the first 17 men in his next start to give him 45 straight batters retired dating back to the start before his perfecto, a major league record. Umpire Eric Cooper was behind home plate for both of Buehrle’s no-nos.
Justin Verlander: June 12, 2007 and May 7, 2011
Verlander’s first no-hitter came against the Brewers in Detroit in 2007. Four years later, he threw another, this time against the Blue Jays in Toronto. In that one, Verlander didn’t allow a baserunner until he walked J.P. Arencibia with one out in the eighth. He then got Edwin Encarnacion to hit into a double play and finished the game having faced the minimum 27 batters.
Roy Halladay: May 29, 2010 and Oct. 6, 2010
Halladay’s regular season no-no was a perfect game and his second was just the second postseason no-hitter in major league history. That no-no took place in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Reds and saw Halladay allow just one baserunner on a fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce. That game also made Halladay the first pitcher to have two no-hitters in the same season since Ryan in 1973 and the first ever to have a perfect game and a second no-hitter in the same season. Halladay, Buehrle, and Koufax are the only men ever to throw a perfect game and a second no-hitter in which they allowed just one baserunner.
Homer Bailey: Sept. 28, 2012 and July 2, 2013
Bailey is the first pitcher to have the majors’ two most recent no-hitters since Ryan in 1975. He walked just one man in both games, though his first no-no also saw a runner reach on an error by Scott Rolen. Still, he faced just 28 men both times as the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, the walk in the former game, was caught stealing. His lone walk against San Francisco was to Gregor Blanco leading off the seventh. Blanco’s next at-bat was a grounder to third for the final out of the game.