Sorry, MadBum: A 21-out no-hit effort is not the identical as a 27-out no-hitter


Madison Bumgarner was good on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.

The massive lefty gave credit score to the shadows at Truist Park in his fast postgame interview with the Diamondbacks’ broadcast crew, however he was simply being modest. This was classic Bumgarner, a welcome sight for Arizona baseball followers who had too typically watched a subpar model of the Giants’ World Collection hero since he signed within the desert earlier than the 2020 season. 

Bumgarner confronted 21 Atlanta hitters over seven innings, and he didn’t enable a hit or a stroll. The one runner reached on an error within the second, however was shortly erased on a double play. As a result of this was a 2021 doubleheader, it was a seven-inning recreation. Bumgarner will get credit score for a whole recreation within the historical past books.

He doesn’t get credit score for an “official” no-hitter, although. 

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When you’ve checked in on baseball Twitter for the reason that finish of his gem Sunday afternoon — not a straightforward process, what with Oscars Twitter and NFL Twitter taking on a lot bandwidth — you’ve little doubt seen tons and plenty of good baseball individuals railing in opposition to this resolution, which MLB made when it opted to shorten doubleheaders for the 2020 season and re-upped once more for the 2021 marketing campaign, lengthy earlier than MadBum toed the rubber Sunday. 

The definition from the Elias Sports activities Bureau, earlier than the 2020 season: “No-hitters by groups and people shall not be credited in scheduled seven-inning video games, until the sport goes to additional innings and the group (or particular person in a whole recreation) pitches no less than 9 innings and doesn’t enable a success.”

Right here’s an unpopular, however strongly held, opinion: Conserving Madison Bumgarner off the official listing of no-hitters, as at the moment outlined (we’ll come again to this), is the suitable name. 

As a result of right here’s the reality: Getting 21 outs with out permitting a success shouldn’t be the identical as getting 27 outs with out a hit. It’s simply not, and any argument on the contrary is silly and flawed. Neither is simple, clearly, however getting 21 outs sans hits is much less difficult than getting 27 outs with out permitting a success. There are 307 formally acknowledged no-hitters; ask just about anybody on that listing of 307 they usually’ll let you know final six outs are the hardest outs of a no-hitter. Higher but, ask anybody who got here near a 27-out no-hitter and fell quick, they usually’ll undoubtedly let you know these final six are the hardest outs. 

Right here’s an inventory of 11 no-hit bids that ended after 26 outs. Dave Stieb is on that listing for his Aug. 4, 1989, effort; it was one in every of 4 instances in Stieb’s profession that he carried a no-no into the ninth inning solely to have it damaged up (he did lastly end a no-hitter in 1990). The listing of no-hit bids carried by means of seven innings is totally a lot, for much longer than the listing of 307 accomplished, official no-hitters. 

As soon as upon a time, Bumgarner’s gem would have counted. However in 1991, MLB convened a baseball statistical accuracy committee, chaired by commissioner Fay Vincent, and that group got here up with this dedication: An official no-hitter is “a recreation through which a pitcher, or pitchers, offers up no hits whereas pitching no less than 9 innings. A pitcher could surrender a run or runs as long as he pitches 9 innings or extra and doesn’t surrender a success.”

The argument for Bumgarner, in fact, is that he by no means had an opportunity to pitch 9 innings, as a result of it was scheduled as a seven-inning recreation. And if he by no means had an opportunity to pitch 9 innings, he ought to get credit score for finishing the sport as scheduled with out permitting a success by having his effort acknowledged as an “official” no-hitter.

And, yeah, that is sensible. I get the logic. 

He was requested after the sport if he thought it ought to depend. 

“I imply, I don’t know,” he mentioned, in classic Bumgarner cadence and drawl. “I didn’t surrender any hits right this moment. I’m not in command of what number of innings we’re enjoying. I just like the seven-inning double-header factor. I don’t know.” 

Historic context is vital, although. This isn’t the primary time a pitcher has completed a recreation with out permitting a success and never gotten credit score for an “official” no-hitter. In line with the Baseball-Reference Bullpen part, that 1991 ruling erased 31 no-hit gems from the official listing; these have been all formally acknowledged last video games, too, most ended by rain or darkness (within the pre-stadium lights days). 

It additionally worn out video games like Andy Hawkins’ eight-inning no-hit effort in 1990. Hawkins’ Yankees and the White Sox have been tied 0-0 heading into the underside of the eighth in Chicago. With two outs, younger ChiSox speedster Sammy Sosa — yep, him — reached on an error by third baseman Mike Blowers, after which he stole second. Hawkins walked the subsequent two batters to load the bases. Robin Ventura lofted a lazy fly ball to left discipline that ought to have ended the inning, however Jim Leyritz — a catcher by commerce — dropped the ball (it was windy, however the ball hit the glove squarely), and all three runners scored. 

Then Ivan Calderon lofted a lazy fly ball to proper discipline, however Jesse Barfield dropped that one, too, and Ventura scored to place the White Sox up 4-0. When the Yankees did not tie the sport within the prime of the ninth, the sport was over. Hawkins was initially within the no-hit membership, however the 1991 ruling — a dialogue, little doubt spurred by the Hawkins recreation, and a rain-shortened six-inning no-hitter by Melido Perez 11 days later — booted him out. 

Bumgarner’s scheduled seven-inning no-hit effort isn’t even the primary scheduled seven-inning no-hit effort in baseball historical past. That occurred in 1906, when Cincinnati’s Jake Weimer shut down Brooklyn. So there may be historic priority. Bumgarner’s plight isn’t distinctive. It’s simply new and subsequently a speaking level. 

And, yeah, it stinks for Bumgarner that he, basically, had no likelihood to hitch the listing. I fully agree. 

That’s why it’s good to have this dialog, as a result of one thing does have to be accomplished to honor Bumgarner’s gem, Weimer’s gem and Hawkins’ glorious effort. So right here’s an answer: MLB must create a second “official” listing of no-hitters (what does “official” actually imply anyway?). Let the one listing keep as is, as outlined by the 1991 committee’s resolution. 

The opposite one consists of all the pieces else: any no-hit effort that falls in need of 9 innings due to scheduling, rain or darkness, and likewise any no-hit effort that lasted no less than 9 innings however resulted in extras. Right here’s a beautiful assortment of these video games. That brings Pedro Martinez again into the fold after his 9 good innings in 1995 and Wealthy Hill’s 9 no-hit frames in 2017 — each ended within the tenth — and Harvey Haddix’s 12 good innings that have been spoiled by a success within the thirteenth in 1959. This second official listing could be stuffed with the tales that make baseball nice, the quirks and heartbreak and all that great things. 

It’s a easy resolution. It offers much-deserved, typically long-overdue recognition to pitchers who have been good, however not by the narrowly outlined phrases of the 1991 committee’s resolution. And it additionally retains the normal listing of no-hitters, properly, conventional. It’s a win-win.

Make it occur, MLB. And when you’re fixing issues, do away with seven-inning double-headers and magical runners in additional innings. These are hurting the sport.

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