Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No-Hitter Involvement Since 1956

In case you missed it, last night Angels pitcher John Lackey took a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Unfortunately for Lackey, Dustin Pedroia hit a single to left with one out and the no-hitter was history. If, however, Lackey had managed to hold the Red Sox hitless, it would have been the fifth time Boston catcher Jason Varitek was played in a no-hitter but the first time his team was without a hit.

Varitek has actually appeared in six games where one of the teams did not get a hit, but one of those doesn't fit the no-hitter definition. MLB says, "An official no-hit game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a no-hit game, a batter may reach base via a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher's interference."

Thus Devern Hansack's five-inning shutout on October 1, 2006, doesn't qualify as a no-hitter. Neither, too, would games in which the home team is held hitless but wins in 8 1/2 innings thanks to runs scored on walks and/or errors. That's where I quibble with the definition. I can see tossing out no-hitters that didn't reach the ninth inning, but I think 8 1/2 inning games should count as no-hitters. For this post I have included such games in the totals for each player while denoting players who played in those games.

Even last night had been the fifth time Jason Varitek played in a no-hitter, he would still be far back of the record for most no-hitters played in (i.e., showed up in box score - bench players and relievers not making it into the game don't count). That record belongs to Bert Campaneris, who played in eleven no-hitters in his nineteen year career with the Athletics, Rangers, Angels, and Yankees. Six of those eleven times, Campy played for the team that was no hit. Obviously, his team got hits in the other five. I've made lists of the other players to appear in the most no-hitters.

Most Career No-Hitters Played In, 1956-2008
  • Bert Campaneris, 11
  • Reggie Jackson, 9
  • Sal Bando, 8
    Johnny Callison, 8
    Billy Williams, 8
  • Felipe Alou, 7
    Rickey Henderson, 7
    Deron Johnson, 7
    Billy North, 7
    Cookie Rojas, 7
    Pete Rose, 7
    Joe Rudi, 7
    Pete Runnels, 7
    Nolan Ryan, 7
    Tony Taylor, 7
  • Orlando Cepeda, 6
    Delino DeShields, 6
    Jim Gilliam, 6
    Don Kessinger, 6
    Harmon Killebrew, 6
    Willie Mays, 6
    Brooks Robinson, 6
    Ron Santo, 6
    Derrel Thomas, 6
    Leon Wagner, 6
    Tim Wallach, 6
    Claudell Washington, 6
Most Career No-Hitters Played In, Playing for the No-Hit Team, 1956-2008
  • Bert Campaneris, 6
  • Felipe Alou, 5
    Sal Bando, 5
    Johnny Callison, 5
    Reggie Jackson, 5
    Deron Johnson, 5
    Billy North, 5
    Tony Taylor, 5
  • Don Baylor, 4
    Norm Cash, 4
    Orlando Cepeda, 4
    Rickey Henderson, 4
    Jeff Kent, 4
    Harmon Killebrew, 4
    Jerry Lumpe, 4
    Greg Luzinki, 4
    Willie Mays, 4
    Dick McAuliffe, 4
    Don Money, 4
    Jim Northrup, 4
    Tony Oliva, 4
    Joe Rudi, 4
    Norm Siebern, 4
    Leon Wagner, 4
Most Career No-Hitters Played In, Playing for the Hitting Team, 1956-2008
  • Nolan Ryan, 7
  • Jim Gilliam, 6
  • Bert Campaneris, 5
    Jose Cruz, Sr., 5
    Willie Davis, 5
    Ron Fairly, 5
    Paul O'Neill, 5
    Cookie Rojas, 5
    Billy Williams, 5
    Maury Wills, 5
  • Matty Alou, 4
    Reggie Jackson, 4
    Derek Jeter, 4
    Alex Johnson, 4
    Don Kessinger, 4
    Sandy Koufax, 4
    Tino Martinez, 4
    Eddie Mathews, 4
    Freddie Patek, 4
    Brooks Robinson, 4
    Frank Robinson, 4
    Pete Rose, 4
    Pete Runnels, 4
    Ron Santo, 4
    Jim Spencer, 4
    Derrel Thomas, 4
    Jason Varitek, 4
    Tim Wallach, 4


Bopperland said...

The main reason I suggested this study was to see if participating in the "ultimate event" (OK, other than a clinching World Series win) followed certain players around. Never in a million years would I have guessed that Campy was the King! Looking at the two lists, it is quite apparent that the Oakland A's and NY Yankees have more than their share of players.

I knew that Nolan Ryan would be on the list with his 7 no-hitters, and likely Koufax with his 4, but they're the only pitchers to make these lists.

I agree with your sentiment about the definition of a no-hitter. They make a distinction for an official game (depending on whether the home team is leading in the 5th inning), and so the same concept should be applied here. There are selected games found at that might qualify. My sneaking suspicion is that MLB wants to maintain the designation as being difficult to attain.

Bopperland said...

One other point: Could you generate the 3 lists again, but this time just showing managers? Sometimes it is the strategy of a given manager (like Dick Williams) that may make a team more or less likely to be involved in a no-hitter.

Pete Ridges said...

Setting a record for the slowest comment ever, I make it 6 no-hitters for Tony Taylor and Johnny Callison, both for the Phillies in 1960-69. This ties Bert Campaneris' record. Taylor then missed one for the Phillies in 1970, and two for the Tigers in 1973.