What is a No-Hitter in Baseball?

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In the world of Major League Baseball (MLB), few achievements spark as much excitement and admiration as a no-hitter. This rare event not only marks a milestone in a pitcher’s career but also immortalizes them in the annals of baseball history. A no-hitter in MLB is a testament to skill, precision, and sometimes, a touch of luck, making it one of the most thrilling occurrences for fans and players alike.

So, let’s talk, and learn more about them.

What is a No-Hitter in Baseball?

A no-hitter in baseball is a rare and remarkable achievement where a pitcher, or a combination of pitchers, complete a game without allowing the opposing team to get a hit. This means the opposing team is unable to achieve any single, double, triple, or home run hits off the pitcher(s) throughout the entirety of the game, which typically spans nine innings. However, it’s important to note that a no-hitter doesn’t mean that the opposing team didn’t get on base. Players can still reach base via walks, errors, or by being hit by a pitch, but they cannot record a hit.

An example of a no-hitter occurred on May 19, 2021, when Corey Kluber of the New York Yankees pitched a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers. Throughout the game, Kluber didn’t allow a single hit from the opposing team, marking this event as a significant achievement in his career and in the history of the Yankees franchise. Despite this, Rangers players could still reach bases through other means not classified as hits, but none managed to secure an actual hit, fulfilling the criteria for a no-hitter.

Types of No-Hitter

There are several distinct variations of no-hitters, each with its own unique criteria and historical significance in the sport of baseball. Among these are the perfect game, where a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no opposing player to reach base by any means, achieving a level of perfection beyond the standard no-hitter.

Another noteworthy type is the combined no-hitter, which occurs when multiple pitchers from the same team collaborate to achieve a no-hitter, a testament to the depth and strength of a team’s pitching roster.

Additionally, an unofficial no-hitter refers to games shortened by weather, darkness, or other external factors where the pitcher achieves a no-hit status but does not complete the regulatory nine innings or more in the case of extra innings. Each variant elevates the no-hitter from a mere statistical anomaly to a celebrated milestone in the annals of baseball history.

How Many No-Hitters in MLB History?

There have been 322 no-hitters in MLB history, a testament to the rare and exceptional nature of this achievement. This number reflects the combined efforts of singular pitchers and teams working together to accomplish what is regarded as one of baseball’s most difficult feats. Each no-hitter, from the first recorded instance to the most recent, adds a unique story and set of circumstances that enrich the storied history of Major League Baseball.

Most Recent No-Hitter in MLB

The most recent no-hitter in MLB is Tyler Gilbert. Starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tyler Gilbert accomplished the feat on August 14, 2021, marking 2 years and 193 days since their last no-hitter. John Means secured a no-hitter for the Baltimore Orioles on May 5, 2021, ending a drought of 2 years and 294 days. The Chicago Cubs collaborated for a combined no-hitter on June 24, 2021, with Zach Davies starting and Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel finishing, marking 2 years and 244 days since their previous one.

How Rare is a No-Hitter in Baseball?

No-hitters are incredibly rare in baseball, occurring on average once every 2430 games or roughly twice a season. There are a total of 322 no-hitters in MLB history. This rarity is partly due to the dynamic nature of the game and the numerous factors that can affect a player’s performance on any given day. It takes immense skill, focus, and luck for a pitcher to achieve a no-hitter, making it an extraordinary accomplishment celebrated throughout the industry and by fans.

Who Holds the Record for Most No-Hitters?

Nolan Ryan, a legendary MLB pitcher, holds the record for the most no-hitters in history with seven. He achieved his first two with the California Angels two months apart in 1973. Ryan’s remarkable career spanned 27 years, securing two more no-hitters with the Angels and one with the Astros. He surpassed Sandy Koufax’s record with his fifth no-hitter in 1981. Notably, Ryan threw his sixth and seventh no-hitters with the Texas Rangers, becoming the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter at age 44. Ryan’s achievement places him among the greatest pitchers in baseball history, alongside Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Bob Feller, Larry Corcoran, and Justin Verlander.

Can You Walk Someone in a No-Hitter?

Yes, it is possible to walk someone or have a baserunner reach base through an error in a no-hitter. A no-hitter refers specifically to the number of hits allowed by the pitcher and their team, not the number of runners on base. For example, Nolan Ryan’s seventh no-hitter involved two walks and two errors committed by his defense. However, the opposing team still failed to get a hit, resulting in Ryan’s record-breaking performance. So while walks and errors can occur during a no-hitter, they do not take away from the pitcher’s achievement.

Are No-Hitters Always Recognized?

No-hitters are officially recognized by Major League Baseball (MLB) and listed as an official statistic for pitchers. However, there have been instances where a no-hitter was not recognized due to technicalities or rule changes. For example, in 1991, Bob Milacki and three other Baltimore Orioles pitchers combined for a no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics. However, since Milacki did not pitch the complete game, it is not officially recognized as a no-hitter. Additionally, in 1990, Andy Hawkins of the New York Yankees pitched a complete game no-hitter but lost due to four unearned runs. In 1991, MLB changed the definition of a no-hitter to require at least nine innings without allowing any hits, making Hawkins’ performance not qualify as an official no-hitter.

Who Caught the Most No-Hitters?

The record for most no-hitters caught by a single catcher is held by Jason Varitek, who caught four no-hitters while playing for the Boston Red Sox. He caught Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in 2001, Derek Lowe’s in 2002, Clay Buchholz’s in 2007, and Jon Lester’s in 2008. Varitek is also one of only two catchers in MLB history to have caught four no-hitters, the other being Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Another notable catcher with multiple no-hitters under his belt is Yogi Berra, who caught three no-hitters during his career with the New York Yankees. He caught Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Allie Reynolds’ no-hitter in 1951, and Dave Righetti’s no-hitter in 1983.


No-hitters in Major League Baseball encapsulate the unforeseen dramas and extraordinary achievements that define the sport. They are not just a showcase of pitching excellence but also a testament to the collaborative effort between a pitcher and his catcher. While the rules and recognition criteria for no-hitters may have evolved, their significance as a pinnacle achievement remains undiminished. The stories of athletes like Jason Varitek and Yogi Berra underscore the profound impact catchers have on this rare feat, highlighting that behind every great pitcher’s no-hitter is a catcher in sync with his vision. No-hitters continue to fascinate and inspire, embodying the unpredictable and thrilling nature of baseball.

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James Arnold
I'm James, and I live in Stanislaus County, California. I'm playing Baseball for many years, and I love this sport so much that I also encourage my kids (Danny and Sara) to play Baseball & Softball.