I must admit, my infatuation with no-hitters (see offthefoulpole, April 19) is starting to wane. When Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks (right) tossed one on Friday night, I kind of shrugged. We’re not half-way through the season, and four no-hitters have already been recorded (five, really, if you count Armando Gallaraga, who was denied a perfect game by ump Jim Joyce’s horrendous call). And besides, Jackson’s “historic” effort was against the Rays, who have now been no-hit twice this season and three times since last July — two of them perfect games. Jackson’s eight-walk, 149-pitch effort put him in company with the late Dock Ellis for all-time sloppy no-hitters. Ellis claimed to be on LSD at the time so I’d have to give his performance a slight edge over Jackson’s. However, I was impressed with the 149 pitches, as it’s been about five years since anyone displayed such a rubber arm in a nine-inning effort. Of course, the rubber may flare up with tendinitis before long, but I still give him high marks for stamina.
The four no-hitters are the most in baseball since 1990 and 1991, when seven were tossed each season. True, Nolan Ryan was still around to contribute one each year, and there were three multi-pitcher no-hitters during the two years. For some reason, those are considered official no-hitters. Frankly, if Harvey Haddix’s 12-innings of perfection against the Braves (only to be broken up in the 13th), considered by many to be the greatest game ever pitched, has been erased from the record books, then it’s downright criminal that a five or six pitcher no-hitter should even be recognized. It should come with a big, fat *.
Nolan Ryan aside, what was the deal with 1990 and 1991, and why are we on pace to match or exceed seven no-hitters in 2010? Well — and this is purely speculation, mind you — there was not a lot of talk or on-field evidence of performance enhancing drugs in the early 90’s. Not like we saw in the late 90’s and well into the last decade. And we know that since MLB instituted more stringent testing for PED’s, home runs and runs scored are down. Likewise, ERA’s are down. No-hitters and perfect games are up.
Hmmmm . . .maybe we’re on to something here. My guess is we’re going to see a few more no-hitters before the season is up. Maybe even by a Mets pitcher.
Well, maybe not. That would be just too crazy.