“Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders” by Dick Lammers has been a book of summer. I have picked it up and put it down dozens of times, every time marveling at the research and history to be found therein.
Lammers is an Associated Press journalist and has taken on no-hitters as a personal partner for life. Former Major League Baseball commissioner Faye Vincent Jr. hit it on the money in his introduction to the book in saying:
“This volume is the complete - and I mean fully complete - story of the no-hit games in the long history of Major League Baseball, and it will serve as the place to look if one wonders why baseball makes such a big deal of no-hit games. “
One might think writing of no-hitters would be fairly simple. Not so. Never did I imagine the permutations and combinations that go into the history of no-hitters.
Is an eight-inning no-hitter a no-hitter? Is a 12-inning no-hitter with a hit in the 13th a no-no? Are combined no-hitters listed as such?
Can a no-hitter involve facing less than 27 at-bats? What team and what park have seen the most no-hitters?
From the first in 1876 to the most recent no-hitter, it’s all here. Who caught the games, who broke up no-hitters, who came the closest without getting one?
This is not a book to read cover to cover in a sitting. It is one of those you keep picking up, turn to a chapter and marvel at the research and the stories.
“A no-hitter is a freaky thing,’ Tweet said. ‘Most of the greatest pitchers never pitched one. It’s a combination of a lot of little accidents.” - Duane Decker in “Switch Hitter”
Lammers is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. If you are unfamiliar with the organization and a baseball fan, it is worth a look at their web site here.
On the site, they have this quote: “Ernie Harwell, the late Detroit Tigers broadcaster, said: ‘SABR is the Phi Beta Kappa of baseball, providing scholarship which the sport has long needed. ... An excellent way for all of us to add to our enjoyment of the greatest game.’ “
There are free digital downloads available of baseball books and research papers. It’s worth a look.
Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2016 season is his 10th with the club and 31st covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March.
* Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne. © Copyright 2016 Gary F. Thorne. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gary F. Thorne and MASNsports.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.