Some guy pitched an MLB no-hitter. His name is Tyler Gilbert. If you don’t know who he is, that’s okay, me either. I’ve been following baseball since 1974. His name has never come up.
There have been a record 8 no-hitters thrown this year. That’s a lot. Like Larry King getting married a lot. The thing that makes Gilbert’s accomplishment for the Arizona Diamondbacks stand out is that it was his first major league start. That’s rare. It’s only happened 4 times since 1876.
The first two times a pitcher hurled an MLB no-hitter in his first start was back in the 1890s.
Baseball was different back then. Home runs didn’t happen unless a fielder made a mistake, and the ball got by him. There weren’t pitching mounds back then, and they pitched from 55.5 feet away. Today’s pitchers throw from 60 feet and 6 inches.
Both no-hitters happened on the last day of the season, so my guess is the players wanted to get out of there and get to the pub. There were different priorities before players made enough money to make a living.
A rainy night in 1953 was the last time it happened before Gilbert’s gem Saturday night in Arizona. A fellow named Bobo Holloman threw it for the old St. Louis Browns. Holloman was a journeyman pitcher. That means he wasn’t good enough to be a regular. The record shows that outstanding defense helped him. They recorded the outs as, and I quote, “hard-hit ground balls, screaming line drives, and deep fly-outs.”
Gilbert’s opponent on Saturday night was the San Diego Padres.
An outstanding hitting team. They rank 8th in total hits and 9th in batting average out of thirty teams. They’re good. The Padres are also in contention for the post-season playoffs. They’re motivated. The Padres weren’t thinking about who was going to get to the bar first. Beating a first-time starting pitcher and an underachieving Arizona Diamondbacks team that had shown them up the night before was their focus.
Baseball is a funny game. It’s a sport that is the most unpredictable. It’s easy to bet on other sports. In football, the best team wins a vast majority of the time. It’s the same with basketball. Anything can happen in baseball at any time. Tyler Gilbert proved it.
Photo courtesy of Keith Johnson on Unsplash