After a pitcher holds opposing teams hitless for nine innings, what is the biggest storyline that the media plays up in that pitcher’s next start? They ask that question that everyone thinks: can he do it again? Well, no one has done it since Johnny Vander Meer did so in June 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds. He had some bright spots in his 13-year MLB career, but not all of his stats are very eye-popping. He finished his career with a 119-121 record, 3.44 ERA, and 1,294 strikeouts in 2,104.3 innings.
However, getting batters to swing and miss was his specialty. Only Vander Meer, Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson, and Warren Spahn have led the league in strikeouts three years in a row since 1940. Why is it so hard for a pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a row? Come on; it’s hard enough to fool hitters for a 1-2-3 inning, let alone for nine innings in a row. Also, I think that pitchers always think about continuing their dominance that they had previously in their next start. Most of the time, that type of dominance only happens once or twice in a lifetime, so it’s pretty tough to do that in consecutive appearances, especially when you consciously try to do it.
If you read my post about Nolan Ryan’s 7 career no-hitters, you can see how often no-hitters have taken place in MLB history. There have been only 26 pitchers in Major League Baseball that have been able to no-hit opposing teams on multiple occasions, with Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, and Mark Buehrle being the only active players.
Why won’t this record be broken, you ask? Well, that’s easy. To break Johnny Vander Meer’s mark, a pitcher would have to throw no-hitters in three consecutive starts; I’ll only believe that this would ever happen if I saw a pitcher throw two in a row. Until then, I’m convinced that we will never see perfection like Johnny Vander Meer’s in 1938 ever again.