Here are seven of the weirdest, most unexpected no-hitters in baseball history
7 of the weirdest, most unexpected no-hitters
In the early hours of Saturday morning, Samurai Japan pulled off the unexpected. Led by the 5-foot-10 Takahiro Norimoto, four Japanese hurlers combined to pitch a no-hitter against a team of MLB All-Stars. It was the first no-hitter in the Japan All-Star Series since Randy Johnson and Chuck Finley combined to twirl one in 1990.
But even against that stacked lineup, it wasn't the most unexpected no-hitter of all-time. Here are seven other notable no-nos that no one saw coming.
7. Dwight Gooden no-hits the 1996 Mariners
Dwight Gooden won a Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young, went to four All-Star Games and even won a Silver Slugger. Gooden never threw a no-hitter in any of those seasons.
But after missing the entire 1995 season, and during a campaign that saw the right-hander post a 5.01 ERA, Gooden threw his no-hitter.
On May 14, Gooden squared off against a Seattle lineup that seemingly came from a Matt Christopher novel: they only hit home runs. Alex Rodriguez would finish with 36 home runs, Jay Buhner with 44, and Ken Griffey Jr knocked out 49. Oh yeah, then there was Edgar Martinez doing his usual thing by hitting .327 with 27 HR.
But on that day, Gooden kept their bats silent. Sure, six batters walked, two of them coming in the first inning, but Gooden kept the Mariners in the ballpark. And in 1996, that was a pretty rare occurrence.
6. Virgil Trucks no-hits Yankees
Virgil Trucks had a strange 1952 season. The two-time All-Star would win 19 games twice and 20 games once in his career, but in '52, the right-hander went 5-19. Two of those wins were no-hitters.
His first came against the Washington Senators on May 15 -- not all that surprising considering the Senators hit only 50 home runs as a team that year.
But on Aug. 25, Trucks no-hit a Yankees lineup that included future Hall of Famers Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle, along with solid regulars Billy Martin, Hank Bauer and Joe Collins.
The Yankees would be OK, though -- two months later they'd walk away with the World Series trophy.
5. Roy Halladay no-hits the Reds in the 2010 NLDS
You don't expect no-hitters to happen in the postseason, because usually a team has to be pretty good at getting base hits to reach October. But en route to his second Cy Young Award, Halladay was better than some measly postseason team.
After throwing a no-hitter against the Marlins on May 29, Halladay upped the ante by no-hitting a Reds team that featured four players with more than 20 home runs during the regular season. That also includes the eventual 2010 MVP, Joey Votto, who hit 37 home runs with a league-leading 1.024 OPS.
4. Charlie Robertson throws a perfect game
Charlie Robertson's eight-year career as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher was fairly unremarkable. But against a 1922 Tigers team that had six regulars with batting averages over .300, including Ty Cobb, who finished the year batting .401? Well, on April 30, Robertson was perfect.
As pointed out by Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times, not only were the Tigers the team with the highest batting average to ever be no-hit (.302), but there wouldn't be another perfect game until Don Larsen's in 1956.
3. The Rays are no-hit four times
OK, I know we're breaking the rules a little on this one, but between July 23, 2009, and Aug. 15, 2012, the Rays would be no-hit four times. Even stranger, in the three years that the Rays were no-hit (once in '09, twice in '10, once more in '12), the team won 84, 96 and 90 games, respectively. These were not bad teams. And two of those no-hitters were perfect games -- something that has happened only 23 times in Major League history!
Even stranger than all that, there were two hitters playing in Saturday morning's Japan Series game who just so happened to play in all four of those games: Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist.
That makes five no-hitters that the two have played in. Have they been cursed?
2. Hideo Nomo no-hits the Rockies ... in Colorado
If Greek tragedies starred pitchers, their final heroic but ultimately depressing battle would take place in Coors Field. For Colorado is where baseballs go to be sent into the stratosphere before plummeting deep into the fires of Hades.
On Sept. 17, 1996, with the nation still in Nomomania, Hideo Nomo no-hit the Rockies. That season, Colorado scored 961 runs, with Vinny Castilla, Ellis Burks and Andres Galarraga all hitting 40 or more home runs and Dante Bichette adding 31 more.
To this day, it remains the only no-hitter thrown at Coors.
1. Don Larsen throws a perfect game in the World Series
And now the game that everyone thinks of when they think of out-of-this-world pitching performances: Don Larsen's perfect game.
In Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, the journeyman faced off against a Dodgers lineup that reads like fan fiction: Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges in the middle of the order with Roy Campanella in the eight-hole. And all Larsen did was retire them in perfect order -- even striking out seven.
Growing up, I always struggled to understand how Larsen could be a thoroughly average pitcher, bouncing between seven teams in a 14-year career, while still managing to throw a perfect game in the World Series.
But that's the thing about baseball, especially during no-hitters: Weird things happen.