Jered Weaver’s no-hitter last night against the Minnesota Twins was the 35th since Major League Baseball returned from a strike-shortened 1994 season.
Has the no-no lost its luster?
No, hell no and no perceived proliferation of it happening too often will ever be too much. Eighteen years, thirty five occasions averages out to a little under twice a year. In the 118 years prior to the ’94 strike, there were 239 no-hitters, or an event occurring a tick more than twice a year.
Perhaps they happen three days apart like in 1996 when Al Leiter and Dwight Gooden accomplished the feat. Or as it went down in 2006, baseball waits the entirety of the season to see a single no-no thrown by Anibal Sanchez in September. That’s the wonderful part of these instances and this game, the randomness of it all.
Jim Abbot can throw a no-hitter with a disability. Dwight Gooden can do the same after besting drug problems. Clay Buchholz does so in his second Major League start and Philip Humber, a journeyman, simply has it on one particular April Saturday and notches a perfect game.
There are names like Humber that come and go in the public conscience because they won’t recreate the same magic over the duration of a career. But Bud Smith will always have September 3, 2001 just like six Houston Astros will always share June 11, 2003 in a collaborative effort at Yankee Stadium no less.
Since the start of the 2010 season, eleven men have tossed no-hitters. That’s not the average pace and there’s a legitimate chance we won’t see another for the rest of 2012.
Whether it occurs again or not doesn’t make the no-hitter any less enthralling. It’s the single greatest example of individual domination in baseball. Ensuring that nine men fail to record a hit, in some cases three times through the lineup, isn’t something a diamond fan shakes his head at and says, “oh well, happened again.”
It provokes Tim Kurkjian’s voice to rise an octave, allows Buster Olney to fish out some forgotten statistic and for those who stayed up late enough to watch Jered Weaver live, revel in a rarity of success.