MLB rookies to throw no-hitters

The youngest, least experienced pitchers to record a no-no

May 9th, 2023

Throwing a no-hitter is hard enough for a crafty veteran. But what about the pitchers on the other end of the age and experience spectrum?

Consider these numbers, each of which are for AL/NL pitchers in the Modern Era (since 1900):

  • Just two pitchers have thrown an individual no-hitter in their first career start.
  • Nine have done so within their first 10 MLB appearances.
  • Ten pitchers have thrown one before turning 22 years old.
  • Only 24 rookies have completed a no-no.

Let's break these down one by one.


Only one pitcher in history has thrown a no-hitter in his Major League debut, and it happened more than 130 years ago. On Oct. 15, 1892, a 22-year-old Reds right-hander by the name of Bumpus Jones (given name: Charles) blanked the Pirates on the final day of the National League season. That didn't foreshadow future greatness for Jones, who posted a 10.10 ERA in his second and final season in 1893, but he retains a special place in history.

If we expand to a pitcher's first career start, we get a slightly larger group. One other pitcher did that in the 19th century: Ted Breitenstein for the American Association's St. Louis Browns, on Oct. 4, 1891, against the Louisville Colonels.

In the Modern Era, just two more have joined the club. On May 6, 1953, Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns (this time the American League version, in its final season before moving to Baltimore) completed arguably the most unlikely no-no in history, against the Philadelphia A's. Already 30 years old at the time, Holloman was in his only Major League season, which consisted of 22 appearances (10 starts).

Nearly 70 years later, D-backs lefty Tyler Gilbert no-hit the Padres on Aug. 14, 2021, after making only three previous relief appearances totaling 3 2/3 innings.


When Angels rookie Reid Detmers no-hit the Rays on May 10, 2022, in Anaheim, it was his 11th career game. That kept him just outside this list of pitchers who have twirled a no-hit gem within their first 10 career games, regardless of how many of those were starts.

Lowest career game total at time of no-hitter (Modern Era)
2nd game: Clay Buchholz (Red Sox), Sept. 1, 2007
2nd: Wilson Alvarez (White Sox), Aug. 11, 1991
3rd: Nick Maddox (Pirates), Sept. 20, 1907
4th: Tyler Gilbert (D-backs), Aug. 14, 2021
4th: Burt Hooton (Cubs), April 16, 1972
4th: Bo Belinsky (Angels), May 5, 1962
5th: Bobo Holloman (Browns), May 6, 1953
5th: Charlie Robertson (White Sox), April 30, 1922 (perfect game)
10th: Steve Busby (Royals), April 27, 1973


The all-time record in this category belongs to Amos Rusie, who was 20 years and 62 days old on July 31, 1891, when he no-hit the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

In the Modern Era, 10 pitchers have thrown a no-no prior to their 22nd birthday, although only two of those performances occurred within the past 50 years. The last pitcher to toss a no-hitter before turning 23 was Detmers in 2022 -- he was 22 years and 306 days old at the time.

Youngest pitchers to throw a no-hitter (Modern Era)
Note: Pitchers listed with age in "years.days" format

20.205: Johnny Lush (Phillies), May 1, 1906
20.315: Nick Maddox (Pirates), Sept. 20, 1907
20.337: Christy Mathewson (Giants), July 15, 1901
21.042: Earl Hamilton (Browns), Aug. 30, 1912
21.055: Vida Blue (A’s), Sept. 21, 1970
21.073: Noodles Hahn (Reds), July 12, 1900
21.140: Wilson Alvarez (White Sox), Aug. 11, 1991
21.165: Bob Feller (Indians), April 16, 1940
21.277: Smoky Joe Wood (Red Sox), July 29, 1911
21.315: Bud Smith (Cardinals), Sept. 3, 2001


While 37 pitchers with rookie eligibility have completed a no-hitter all-time, per the Elias Sports Bureau, here are the 24 who have accomplished that feat in the Modern Era:

Reid Detmers, Angels
May 10, 2022 vs. Rays

Tyler Gilbert, D-backs
Aug. 14, 2021 vs. Padres

• Chris Heston, Giants
June 9, 2015 at Mets

• Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
Sept. 1, 2007 vs. Orioles

• Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
Sept. 6, 2006 vs. D-backs

• Bud Smith, Cardinals
Sept. 3, 2001 at at Padres

• Jose Jimenez, Cardinals
June 25, 1999 at D-backs

• Wilson Alvarez, White Sox
Aug. 11, 1991 at Orioles

• Mike Warren, A's
Sept. 29, 1983 vs. White Sox

• Jim Bibby, Rangers
July 30, 1973 at A's

• Steve Busby, Royals
April 27, 1973 at Tigers

• Burt Hooton, Cubs
April 16, 1972 vs. Phillies

• Vida Blue, A's
Sept. 21, 1970 vs. Twins

• Don Wilson, Astros
June 18, 1967 vs. Braves

• Bo Belinsky, Angels
May 5, 1962 vs. Orioles

• Sam Jones, Cubs
May 12, 1955 vs. Pirates

• Bobo Holloman, Browns
May 6, 1953 vs. A's

• Bill McCahan, A's
Sept. 3, 1947 vs. Senators

• Vern Kennedy, White Sox
Aug. 31, 1935 vs. Indians

• Paul Dean, Cardinals
Sept. 21, 1934 at Dodgers

• Charlie Robertson, White Sox
April 30, 1972 at Tigers (perfect game)

• Jeff Tesreau, Giants
Sept. 6, 1912 at Phillies

• Nick Maddox, Pirates
Sept. 20, 1907 vs. Superbas

• Christy Mathewson, Giants
July 15, 1901 at Cardinals