I am picking Major League no-hitters. I have found over the years that I always end up getting attached to a no-hitter at some point during the baseball season. Some years I start watching a game and the next thing you know, it's a no-hitter. Or I am watching a game, a no-hitter is taking place somewhere else, and I follow along via Twitter or MLB Network. Something. Such is the case with Arrieta's no-hitter last night.
I started paying attention to the Cubs always entertaining Twitter feed around the fifth or sixth inning. After some long half innings of offense, I would focus in on the Reds half of the inning. All the way to the last Eugenio Suarez pop out. Great game.
So, I sat down at lunch today, scrolled through a list of no-hitters, and picked out a bunch that I had followed along with at the time they happened. There have been 96 no-hitters thrown during my lifetime and by my count there are about dozen that I followed in progress or sat down and watched for whatever reason. I narrowed it down to five......
5. Philip Humber April 12, 2012
I really wanted to put this perfect game a lot higher, but I could not figure out a way to justify it being any higher than this. I always loved this performance simply because it was Philip Humber. I remember the day this happened. I was off of school for my spring break and was shocked to hear that he had a perfecto going into the sixth inning. I have probably seen Philip Humber pitch half a dozen times in my lifetime in the International League. He was a huge prospect at one point, but he just never really panned out into the pitcher he was supposed to be. However, for one day he was incredible. Philip Humber has only won 16 career games and has a career ERA over 5, yet he's one of a few pitchers in the history of baseball who has ever thrown a no-hitter. I was pumped when he got the last out.
4. Fernando Valenzuela June 29, 1990
After watching years and years of winning baseball under Whitey Herzog, the summer of 1990 was a tough one as a baseball fan in St. Louis. The team underperformed for the most part, Whitey quit in the middle of the season, and the Cardinals actually finished the season in last place. I am in my late 30s and this is the only last place Cardinals team I have seen during my lifetime. To top it off I went and spent a week with my grandfather, who lived about thirty minutes from St. Louis in Illinois, while my parents were at a conference out of town. We stayed up late the one night to watch a Cardinals/Dodgers game and the next thing you know there is a no-hitter. The 1990 version of Fernando was not very good, but he managed to pull of this gem. Added bonus of Vin Scully calling a game in a post.
3. Mark Buehrle July 23, 2009
Similar to the Cardinals/Dodgers game in the Fernando no-hitter, I actually sat down to watch this game because of the Rays. As a Durham Bulls fan, it is always fun to sit down and watch all your favorite minor leaguers in the bigs. Well, except when they get no-hit in a perfect game. This was a no doubter after the Dwayne Wise catch in the 9th inning.
2. Jack Morris April 7, 1984
1. Jose Jimenez June 25, 1999
I watched this entire game start to finish. Randy Johnson vs Jose Jimenez and the Cardinals scrapped out one run to win. I believe Jimenez two-hit the Diamondbacks in his next start, also against Randy Johnson. I had never seen a Cardinals player throw a no-hitter before watching this game. Bud Smith threw a no-hitter in 2001 for the Birds, but I missed it because it was a West Coast game on a school night. If you do not remember Jose Jimenez he was actually a pretty talented pitcher for the Cardinals, Rockies, and Indians. After the Cardinals traded him to the Rockies for Darryl Kile they converted him into a closer and he ended his career with more than 100 saves. Bonus for a Joe McEwing sighting at second base and Willie McGee in the pile of players at the end of the clip.