This week, Max Scherzer came this close to his third career no-hitter, losing it in the eighth inning against the Marlins. (He ended up losing the game too.) As Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe pointed out, it would have been Scherzer's third no-hitter of his career, putting him in the elite company of Bob Feller, Larry Corcoran, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Cy Young as the only pitchers to toss three no-nos. (Justin Verlander and Jake Arrieta are also sitting on two.)
This is particularly impressive, because no-hitters have begun to wane. We've only one had one this year, Edinson Volquez's no-no on June 3 for Miami over Arizona. We only had one last year too, Arrieta's second one, in a wild 16-0 win over Cincinnati. This is particularly strange, because there were seven instances in 2015, including one by San Francisco's Chris Heston, who has already been waived and outrighted by Seattle this season.
Anytime you go to a ballpark, the idea that you might be seeing a no-hitter inevitably enters your mind: It's something that few fans get the opportunity to see in person. I've been to hundreds upon hundreds of games and have never seen one, but I still keep an eye on the scoreboard until both teams get their first hit (someday, Will, someday). What's fascinating is that some fan bases have gone decades without ever seeing their team get one. The most famous example of this was of course the New York Mets, who hadn't had one in the franchise's entire history until Johan Santana threw one in 2012. Mets manager Terry Collins admits the game still haunts him, considering how few games Santana would pitch in his career afterward.
That was a nearly 50-year wait between no-hitters, which is unusually long. (Washington fans have seen someone on their team throw one in three straight years.) But the wait has been long for many, many fans. As we wonder if Volquez's gem, like Arrieta's, will be the only one this year, we look at the 10 fan bases that have been waiting the longest for a no-hitter, who threw their last one … and who's their best bet to throw their next one.
10. New York Yankees
Last no-hitter: July 18, 1999
Pitcher: David Cone
Opponent: Montreal Expos
It might not have been the most overwhelming lineup, but this remains an all-timer, a perfect game from Cone on Yogi Berra Day. This is also the only ever Interleague perfect game.
Likely next candidate: The Yankees don't have that kind of staff right now, but the guy with the best stuff is probably Luis Severino.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last no-hitter: July 12, 1997
Pitcher(s): Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon
Opponent: Houston Astros
Cordova threw the first nine innings and Rincon kept it hitless in the top of the 10th before Mark Smith hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Because it was fireworks night at Three Rivers Stadium, the Pirates had their first non-opening day sellout since 1977, so everybody got a good show. It is still strange to see a no-hitter finished off by a walk-off homer.
Likely next candidate: Would there be a better story than if Jameson Taillon came back from battling cancer to throw the Pirates' first no-hitter in 20 years?
8. Texas Rangers
Last no-hitter: July 28, 1994
Pitcher: Kenny Rogers
Opponent: California Angels
This was only the 11th perfect game in MLB history, and it went down just two weeks before the labor stoppage began and ultimately canceled the rest of the season and the World Series.
Likely next candidate: Cole Hamels has already thrown one, so how about another?
7. Atlanta Braves
Last no-hitter: April 8, 1994
Pitcher: Kent Mercker
Opponent: Los Angeles Dodgers
One of the great ironies of the Braves' Hall of Fame trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz is that none of them ever threw a no-hitter. (Glavine came close with the Mets.) Instead, it's Kent Mercker, of all people.
Likely next candidate: As much as I want to say Bartolo Colon, it's probably Jaime Garcia.
6. Kansas City Royals
Last no-hitter: Aug. 26, 1991
Pitcher: Bret Saberhagen
Opponent: Chicago White Sox
This was the last season of Saberhagen's career with the Royals, and he had to get Frank Thomas for the final out. There are some who still argue a Kirk Gibson knock in the fifth inning, ruled an error, should have counted as a hit.
Likely next candidate: Uh … Jason Vargas?
5. Baltimore Orioles
Last no-hitter: July 13, 1991
Pitcher(s): Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson
Opponent: Oakland A's
This was another weird one, with Milacki going six innings before getting hit on the hand with a line drive, and Flanagan, Williamson and Olson finishing it off. (This is probably going to become more normal with no-hitters in the years to come.) This was only the second time ever that four pitchers came together for a no-hitter. A's manager Tony La Russa was amused after the game. "I think it was kind of strange for them," he said. "Everybody congratulated different people. Nobody knew who to shake hands with."
Likely next candidate: Let's see some of these guys make it through the second inning first.
4. Toronto Blue Jays
Last no-hitter: Sept. 2, 1990
Pitcher: Dave Stieb
Opponent: Cleveland Indians
This remains the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history; Stieb had lost a perfect game in the ninth inning a year earlier, after which he had said "If I haven't gotten a no-hitter after three times, I doubt if I ever will." Stieb is one of the greatest underappreciated pitchers of the past 30 years.
Likely next candidate: Marcus Stroman, I guess.
3. Milwaukee Brewers
Last no-hitter: April 15, 1987
Pitcher: Juan Nieves
Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
This is also the only no-hitter in Brewers history, and it featured an amazing catch by Robin Yount to save it on the last out. This was the season the Brewers started with thirteen straight win; this made them 9-0.
Likely next candidate: The way Chase Anderson is going, he might just pull one off.
2. Cleveland Indians
Last no-hitter: May 15, 1981
Pitcher: Len Barker
Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
The Indians have thrown 14 no-hitters in their history -- including the three from Feller, two from Addie Joss and one from Dennis Eckersley -- but this was their second perfect game and their last no-hitter. One of the amazing things about Barker's feat is that he never even reached three balls on a single hitter.
Likely next candidate: This seems like the next logical step for Corey Kluber.
1. San Diego Padres
Last no-hitter: Never.
Santana's no-hitter for the Mets left the Padres as the only team without a single no-no. The Padres have thrown 28 one-hitters, with Andrew Cashner last doing so in 2014. There's a whole page called NoNoHitters.com devoted to the Padres' lack of no-hitters -- and no-hitters in general -- that is well worth your time. While current San Diego starter Luis Perdomo has dynamic stuff, it's tough to guess at a Padres pitcher who might throw a no-hitter. Although, you never know: Stranger things have happened.
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