Homer Bailey has unusual place among pitchers with multiple no-hitters

 


(Al Behrman/Associated Press)

Homer Bailey’s no-hitter Tuesday – a 3-0 victory for Cincinnati over the Giants – put the 27-year-old right-hander in pretty exclusive company as the author of two no-hitters.

In some ways, Bailey is an odd candidate to throw a pair of no-hitters (his first coming last September against Pittsburgh): The seventh pick in the 2004 draft, he has never so much as been an all-star. His best season came last year, the first time he made more than 22 starts in the majors, when he went 13-10 with a career-best 3.68 ERA. But for his career, he’s just 43-39, has never finished better than three games above .500, and his no-hitter against San Francisco lifted his 2013 record to just 5-6.

Bailey has scant company among the 20 pitchers who have thrown multiple no-hitters since World War II. A breakdown, with names appearing chronologically:

Hall of Famers: Bob Feller, Jim Bunning, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan. Ryan famously threw seven no-hitters, the total combined for the only two other men to throw more than two – Feller (three) and Koufax (four). Koufax’s came in four straight seasons.

Multiple all-star appearances: Allie Reynolds, Virgil Trucks, Ken Holtzman, Steve Busby, Randy Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay. There’s a range here. Johnson will end up in the Hall of Fame, and Verlander and Halladay have both won the Cy Young Award. Reynolds was a five-time all-star for the Yankees, Buehrle a four-timer with the White Sox, while Holtzman, Busby and Trucks made just two all-star appearances. Holtzman’s first no-hitter came without a strikeout, the only one on this list in that category.

One-time all-stars: Carl Erskine, Jim Maloney, Don Wilson, Bill Stoneman, Hideo Nomo. Nomo, the only Japanese-born pitcher to pitch a no-hitter, was an all-star as a rookie for the Dodgers in 1995, but his first no-hitter came the next season. Erskine won 68 games in a four-year stretch for Brooklyn. Stoneman owns several distinctions: only pitcher on this list with a career losing record (54-85), he made his only all-star appearance in 1972 with Montreal – for whom his first no-hitter was just the ninth game in franchise history.

Never an all-star: Bob Forsch, Homer Bailey. Time will tell which category Bailey fits into, but he could do worse than having a career such as Forsch’s: four seasons with at least 14 wins, including a 20-7 campaign in 1972 with St. Louis, and a career record of 168-136 with a 3.76 ERA over 16 seasons.

Barry Svrluga is the national baseball writer for The Washington Post.

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