What Is A No-Hitter In Baseball?
The goal of a pitcher in baseball is to prevent players on the other team from getting on base via walks or hits. When a pitcher is able to go through an entire game without allowing a player on the other team to record a hit, he has thrown a no-hitter.
In baseball, a no-hitter is a game in which a pitcher holds the opposing team without a single hit. A no-hitter requires that no hits are allowed throughout the entire game, including extra innings, for it to be considered a no-hitter. No-hitters is a statistic recorded by pitchers that illustrates an exceptional performance on the pitching mound, allowing zero hits. No-hitters can be thrown by a single pitcher or combined among multiple pitchers on a team.
Baserunners in a No-Hitter
The only requirement for a no-hitter is that the opposing team has no hits. There are a few ways that players can reach base that do not ruin a no-hitter. These include:
- Walks (the pitcher throws four balls outside the strike zone to a batter)
- Hit by pitches (the pitcher hits a batter with a pitch)
- Errors (the defense should have made an out, but instead made a mistake)
In each of these cases, a batter reaches first base but does not record a hit. This means that it is technically possible for a pitcher to throw a no-hitter and still get scored on if there are enough walks, hit by pitches, and/or errors in a row.
No-Hitters Versus Perfect Games
A pitcher can allow baserunners and still throw a no-hitter. In even rarer cases, a pitcher can throw an entire game without allowing any runners on base via hits, walks, hit by pitches, or errors. This is known as a perfect game. There have been 331 official no-hitters thrown in the MLB, only 23 of which were perfect games.
If a starting pitcher leaves the game without allowing a hit after seven innings, he has not thrown a no-hitter. He has thrown seven shutout innings, but cannot be credited with a no-hitter unless he finishes the entire game. However, if the relief pitchers who pitch the eighth and ninth innings also do not allow any hits, the team has thrown a combined no-hitter.
No-Hitters in Extra Innings
If two teams are tied after nine innings, they must play extra innings. Even if a team reaches extra innings without any of its pitchers allowing a hit, the no-hitter is not complete until the game ends.
The longest recorded no-hitter was not an MLB game, but rather a minor league matchup between the Winchester Hustlers and the Lexington Colts on May 10, 1909, where Hustler’s pitcher Fred Toney threw 17 no-hit innings.
Closest MLB No-Hitter Games
On September 9, 1965, Sandy Koufax threw a no-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers won the game 1-0 and only had a single hit, meaning that only one total hit was recorded during the game between the two teams combined.
On May 2, 1917, the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs played each other. Reds pitcher Fred Toney (of the 17-inning minor league no-hitter) and Cubs pitcher Hippo Vaugn both threw no-hitters through nine innings of play. Since the game remained tied at zero after nine innings, it progressed to the tenth, where Vaugn gave up two hits and one run, resulting in a 1-0 Reds victory.