June 16, 2010

Nearly Matching Vander Meer

Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters (June 11 and June 15, 1938).

No one has ever duplicated Vander Meer's achievement -- and it is probably the major league record least likely ever to be broken -- Ewell Blackwell came very close in 1947. On June 18, Blackwell no-hit the Boston Braves and on June 22, he pitched 8.1 no-hit innings against Brooklyn before allowing two hits.

Vander Meer, with his starts before and after the no-nos, pitched a record 21.2 no-hit innings.

Baseball Reference noted that there have been six other pitchers who have had back-to-back starts of at least nine innings and allowed one or no hits in each game (so Blackwell does not qualify):
Howard Ehmke, Red Sox, September 7 (no-hitter) and 11, 1923
Dazzy Vance, Dodgers, September 8 and 13 (no-hitter), 1925
Lon Warneke, Cubs, April 27 and 22, 1934
Whitey Ford, Yankees, September 2 and 7, 1955
Sam McDowell, Cleveland, April 25 and May 1, 1966
Dave Stieb, Blue Jays, September 24 and 30, 1988
Stieb was one out away from a no-hitter in both of his games. Julio Franco singled on September 24 and pinch-hitter Jim Traber got the hit on September 30. Stieb did pitch a no-hitter two years later. ... Ford had a relief appearance between his two starts: 1.1 innings on September 4, 1955.
One of the most amazing games in baseball history happened on May 2, 1917. Both starters -- Fred Toney of the Reds and Jim Vaughn of the Cubs -- threw nine no-hit innings. The Reds got two hits and a run off Vaughn in the 10th and won the game. Toney got his no-no.

This past Sunday, Gavin Floyd of the White Sox did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the seventh and Ted Lilly of the Cubs took a no-hit bid into the ninth. The game went 41 outs before a hit was made, tying it for the second longest double no-hit bid in history:
55 outs  Toney-Vaughn, May 2, 1917
41 outs Koufax-Hendley, July 9, 1965
41 outs Floyd-Lilly, June 13, 2010
40 outs Trout-May, July 13, 1980
37 outs Brown-Van Landingham, June 10, 1997
(Other info and fun stuff here).

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