The New York Mets have been frustrating their fans for 53 years. Between World Championships in 1969 and 1986 there has been a lot of grief. This grief has finally resulted in a positive result—Dirk Lammers' book, Baseball's No-hit Wonders: More Than a Century of Baseball's Greatest Feats (Unbridled Books, spring 2016).
"The book," says award-winning journalist Lammers, "was born out of longing to witness a New York Mets no-hitter, and that led to a website devoted to my team never being able to throw one. I am a lifelong Mets fan who grew increasingly intrigued with the circa-1962 franchise's quirky streak of no no-hitters. Every time a former Mets hurler tossed a no-no wearing another team's uniform—Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Mike Scott, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, etc.—it poured salt on the wound. So in 2008 I launched the website NoNoHitters.com to chronicle the Mets' streak—then at 7,322 games, posting an update each time an opposing hitter got the game's first hit.
"On June 1, 2012, with the streak at 8,019 games, Johan Santana finally broke the curse, forcing the site to find a new purpose. I began tracking the no no-no streak of the San Diego Padres, the only major league team still void of a no-hitter, and continued to broaden its focus on all no-hitters."
Lammers has also chronicled 31 Negro League no-hitters. "All credit for digging up the Negro Leagues no-hitters goes to the Society for American Baseball Research's Negro League Committee and Noir Tech Research Inc., which put together the great list that resides on Sports-Reference.com."
Many have blamed the rash of recent no-hitters on the increasing number of unskilled hitters who habitually strike out more than 100 times a year, but Lammers is not so sure: "There have always been peaks and valleys in the frequency of no-hitters based on rule changes and adjustments, such as a more tightly wound baseball, lowering of the mound, etc."
Many saw umpire Jim Joyce's blown call at first base that denied Detroit's Armando Galarraga a no-hitter in 2010 as a travesty and led to baseball instituting replay. "I think that blown call was the last straw in Major League Baseball's reluctance to introduce a technology that should have been incorporated years earlier."
Lammers favorite no-no? "It's hard to top a no-hitter thrown by a pitcher tripping on LSD," as Pittsburgh's Dock Ellis did in 1971. "I would love to know what that game looked like through Ellis's dilated eyeballs."
You can meet up with Lammers at the Unbridled booth (TM12) today, 3–5 p.m., and tomorrow, 9.a.m–noon.
This article appeared in the May 27, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.