Pitching a no-hitter is a special day where a pitcher has just about every ball hit bounces his way. While not quite the perfect game where all 27 men who came to the plate are retired, a no-hitter is still a nice accomplishment for any pitcher. We’ve seen some awesome ones over the years from guys losing it on the final out in sometimes controversial situations to others doing so while allegedly hungover or high on LSD.
No-hitters are pretty common in baseball, as hard as it is to accomplish. We have seen nearly 300 of them in MLB history including seven in 2015 alone. Not all are perfect, often including far too many walks or hit batters. Others have been spectacular even if the pitcher who did it hasn’t always been so great. And that’s what this is all about.
Unlike making it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, anyone can pitch a no-hitter. Luck certainly factors into it and helps out those less talented arms get through 27 outs minus a crooked number on the scoreboard below the hits column for the opposing team.
On this list you will find the 15 worst pitchers to throw a no-hitter. Some, while great or even perfect on the day they accomplished this, did not have the kind of careers you would expect from someone with a no-hitter on their resume. Although some of the more recent pitchers who have thrown no-hitters could one day join this list once we know what they fully become, there are plenty of past players with somewhat shameful careers who for one day nobody could get a hit against. They are the 15 worst pitchers with a no-no to brag about.
15 Jim Wilson
In 1954, a little known pitcher named Jim Wilson stepped on the mound for the Milwaukee Braves and tossed a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies in a 2-0 win. Wilson, an All-Star three times in his career, was a rookie in 1945 but didn’t pitch in more than 5 innings again until 1951 when he was 29-years-old. He finished his career at 86-89 with a 4.01 ERA which also included losing a league leading 18 games in 1955. His no-hitter was actually his second straight shutout of the 1954 season and featured only two walks in what was easily the highlight of his forgotten career.
14 Chris Bosio
Chris Bosio is one of those pitchers from the late 1980s/early 1990s who took the mound every fifth day and delivered an average outing. He spent his career with the Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners, recording his best game in 1993 with the latter. Bosio held the Boston Red Sox hitless for nine innings in the starter. The no-hitter would also turn into the last shutout of Bosio’s career. Overall, Bosio barely cracked the .500 mark at 94-93 with a 3.96 ERA.
13 Edwin Jackson
Well-traveled starting pitcher Edwin Jackson started his MLB career in 2003 as a 19-year-old pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Years later, in 2010 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he managed to toss a no-hitter against one of his former teams, the Tampa Bay Rays in 1-0 game. It was far from a perfect game as Jackson surrendered eight walks. It took him 149 pitches to get the game over with too in what was surely a nail-biter for his elbow. A career not yet complete, Jackson has an ERA over 4.50 and a winning percentage that will never reach .500. He’s one of the least likely pitchers to pitch a no-hitter yet.
12 Eric Milton
Eric Milton’s MLB career finished with an 89-85 record and an inflated 4.99 ERA that was often victimized by the American League’s best sluggers. Drafted in the first round of the 1996 draft by the New York Yankees yet never a member of the big league club, Milton was far from anything special. However, in only his second big league season in 1999, Milton threw a no-hitter against the Anaheim Angels as a member of the Minnesota Twins. It was a strong outing too, as he allowed only two walks and struck out 13 batters in the 7-0 victory.
11 Tommy Greene
Another first round pick who didn’t have a great MLB career yet added a no-hitter to his resume is Tommy Greene. A guy who only made 97 career big league starts with a 4.14 ERA, Greene’s no-hitter in 1991 was the best moment of his short and unsuccessful career. The no-hitter was the first of two consecutive shutouts against the Montreal Expos by Greene and included seven walks. Greene did strike out 10 batters though in the wild affair where the Philadelphia Phillies took home the 2-0 win. Five days later, Greene struck out 9 more Expos in a shutout, but allowed three hits.
10 Len Barker
The strike shortened 1981 season featured a couple of no-hitters, including one from Len Barker. A pitcher with a career record of 74-76 with a 4.34 ERA, Barker took the mound in his Cleveland Indians’ uniform against the Toronto Blue Jays and pitched more than a no-hitter; he pitched a perfect game. All 27 batters Barker faced were shut down including 11 who struck out. Barker went on to lead the league in strikeouts that same season for the second straight year, however his overall career totals are far from what you might expect from a guy who threw a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game.
9 Rex Barney
The Brooklyn Dodgers had some legendary players, but pitcher Rex Barney is not one of them. In September of 1948, the 23-year-old pitcher was nearing the end of what was by far the best year of his short career. Barney managed to keep the rival New York Giants hitless while only giving up two walks in the 2-0 victory. Barney only ever made 81 starts in his career and, other than the 1948 season, he never had an ERA below 4.41. He last pitched in the big leagues in 1950 as a 25-year-old.
8 Juan Nieves
In April of 1987, Juan Nieves threw a no-hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Baltimore Orioles in a 7-0 victory. The strong performance was the best moment of Nieves’ career, which actually only lasted three seasons. Although he holds a positive record of 32-25 for his career, Nieves had a 4.71 ERA and 1.496 WHIP. The Puerto Rican native was far from dominant in the best start of his career as he walked five batters in the game to go along with his seven strikeouts.
7 Dave Morehead
Dave Morehead's MLB career was spent mostly as a relief pitcher with a few starts over the eight years he wore a big league uniform. He finished his short career with a 40-64 record and underwhelming 4.15 ERA. Morehead does belong to the elite class of men who threw a no-hitter when as a 22-year-old in 1965, the Boston Red Sox starting pitcher didn’t allow a single hit against the Cleveland Indians. Morehead actually went on to lose a league leading 18 games that same season with his no-hitter also counting as the final victory of the 1965 season he would earn.
6 Bo Belinsky
With a 28-51 career record and 4.10 ERA, Bo Belinsky is pretty forgettable. However, in 1962, he threw the first no-hitter in Los Angeles Angels’ history which also happened to be his rookie season. In a year where he led the league with 122 walks, you would figure this was one of those fluky no-hitters where a guy delivers plenty of bases on balls. However, in this start, Belinsky only walked four batters and added nine strikeouts. His time in the big leagues was never quite as good as it was that night, as Belinsky saw his ERA go up and his starts go down for the remainder of his career.
5 Jose Jimenez
Jose Jimenez only registered 38 career MLB starts with 28 of them coming in the 1999 season as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, the same year he held the Arizona Diamondbacks hitless. Impressively, the forgotten pitcher actually threw another shutout that same season in an otherwise lackluster career. The year itself was pretty bad for Jimenez, as he went 5-14 with a 5.85 ERA. When he retired following the 2004 season, Jimenez did so with a 4.92 career ERA and a record of 24-44
4 Joe Cowley
Joe Cowley’s no-hitter in 1986 was one of those unfortunate ones that actually wasn’t even a shutout. A lifetime 33-25 pitcher with a 4.20 ERA, Cowley pitched nine no-hit innings, but surrendered a lone run in the 6th inning to keep him from earning a shutout. After walking three batters and loading the bases to start the inning, a flyball one out later resulted in a run crossing the plate. Cowley still helped the Chicago White Sox leave victorious, even if he is the owner of a rare non-shutout, no-hitter. Cowley may have one that day, but in terms of making an impact in the MLB, he failed.
3 Dallas Braden
One of the more recent no-hitters by a guy nobody expected to throw one belongs to Dallas Braden. In 2010, the Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher took on the Tampa Bay Rays and held them hitless for all nine innings. Not just that, Braden also threw a perfect game as none of his Athletics teammates committed an error and the umpires gave him all of the right calls. Unfortunately for Braden, his career was cut short due to injuries and he earns the reputation as a less-than-stellar pitcher to throw a no-hitter/perfect game because he never got to improve upon his 26-36 career record and 4.16 ERA. We’ll never know if he had another one left in him.
2 Bud Smith
We’re getting into very dark territory with Bud Smith. Smith had a very brief MLB career to the point where it’s almost unfair to judge him. His 2001 rookie season was very good, as he went 6-3 with a 3.83 ERA. The next season he unfortunately only went 1-5 with a 6.94 ERA. He would never pitch in the big leagues again because of frequent injuries. Smith’s crowning moment came in his awesome rookie year when he no-hit the San Diego Padres in early September. The game was one of the final promising starts of what should have been a much better career.
1 Philip Humber
Who is the worst pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter? That title belongs to Philip Humber, who like a few other names on this list had a perfect game. Humber’s perfect game came in 2012 as a member of the Chicago White Sox. This was a year where Humber was 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA. His perfect game against the Seattle Mariners shocked everyone in what was just Humber's second start of the season. Humber was promptly shelled by the Boston Red Sox in his very next outing,leading the way to a career 16-23 record and 5.31 ERA and landing him at the top spot of this list.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!