No-hitters go down in history. 99 percent of the time, it’s for the right reason. Of course, the one percent exists.
There have been 303 no-hitters thrown in baseball history. The majority of them have been dominant performances. Some of them, honestly, were mediocre performances and the pitchers got totally bailed out. So we came up with a list of some of the worst no-hitters ever thrown.
Ken Johnson vs. Cincinnati Reds – April 23, 1964. 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 9 K, loss
Okay, Johnson actually had a great outing. This is only on the list because it is the only no-hitter thrown where the pitcher was charged with the loss. This list would have been incomplete without the unluckiest outing of all time.
So where did that run come from?
It’s not as “unlucky” as you think.
Of course, it happened in the top of the ninth inning. Pete Rose reached on an error (by Johnson), and advanced to second. After getting moved over the third, he scored on yet another error.
And now, we all patiently wait until Jacob deGrom becomes the second pitcher be a no-hit loser.
Ed Lafitte vs. Kansas City Packers – September 19, 1914. 2 R (0 ER), 7 BB, 1 HBP, 1 K
Ed Lafitte tossed arguably the worst no-hitter ever when he was hurling for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops. According to Baseball Reference, this outing owns the worst game score (77) of any no-hitter ever thrown.
Seven walks and one hit batsman while punching out just one batter is just horrible.
Jim Maloney vs. Chicago Cubs – August 19, 1965. 10 IP, 10 BB, 12 K, 1 HBP, 40 batters faced
I gotta give credit where it’s due — Maloney’s no-hitter is just one of three that had to be completed in 10 innings. Also, out of the 241 one-pitcher no-hitters, the pitcher struck out at least 12 in only 31 of them.
But Maloney’s 10 walks and 40 batters faced are both the most ever in a no-hitter.
Edwin Jackson vs. Tampa Bay Rays – June 25, 2010 – 8 BB, 1 HBP, 6 K, 149 pitches
Edwin Jackson’s 149 pitches are the most ever recorded in a no-hitter. He threw 70 in the first three innings. His eight walks are tied for the third-most ever in a no-hitter. The Rays left nine guys on base in the ballgame.
AJ Burnett vs. San Diego Padres – May 12, 2001 – 9 BB, 1 HBP, 7 K, 129 pitches, 50.4 strike percentage
Burnett’s nine free passes are the second-most ever in a no-hitter. Out of his 129 pitches, 65 of them were strikes. It’s the worst strike-percentage in any no-hitter. He could barely find the plate.
Francisco Liriano vs. Chicago White Sox – May 3, 2011 – 6 BB, 2 K, 53.7 strike percentage
His strike-percentage is the second-worst in any no-hitter, following only Burnett. Luckily for him, he induced three double plays in the game. Twelve of his outs came via the groundout, though, so at least he was giving up weak contact. But boy, this was not an overpowering performance by any stretch.
Johan Santana vs. St. Louis Cardinals – June 1, 2012. 5 BB, 8 K, 139 pitches.
It was a fair ball.