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Top 5 MLB players with most career no-hitters

Justin Verlander is a modern-day no-hitter specialist
Justin Verlander is a modern-day no-hitter specialist
Peter J. Wilson

MLB no-hitters are a thing of beauty. Sure, they're not perfect games, but they're the second-best thing around. In 2021, we witnessed a whopping nine no-hitters, which set an MLB record. Whether the influx was due to more pitchers using sticky substances, or simply the baseball gods favoring the mound over the plate doesn't matter: They're still an amazing thing to witness.

The 2021 season's nine no-hitters included both combined and complete game no-hitters. Possibly the best show of talent last season was when Milwaukee Brewers pitchers Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader combined for 16 strikeouts and shared a no-hitter on September 11, 2021.

Who are the Top 5 MLB players with the most career no-hitters?

Complete game no-hitters are what truly define a pitcher's balance of skill, stamina, and pressure-performance. Here are the MLB's top 5 all-time no-hitter kings.

#5 - Bob Feller

A statue bearing Bob Feller's likeness graces the grounds outside Cleveland's Progressive Field
A statue bearing Bob Feller's likeness graces the grounds outside Cleveland's Progressive Field

Bob Feller—also known as "The Heater from Van Meter"—pitched 18 seasons for the Cleveland Indians from 1936-56. He posted a phenomenal 266-162 career record with 279 complete games, 44 of which were shutouts and three no-hitters.

In 1940, he became the first (and only) pitcher to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day. In 1941, Feller put his MLB career on pause to fight in the Second World War. He returned to Cleveland in 1945 and pitched his second no-hitter against a stacked New York Yankees lineup on April 30, 1946. In 1951, he pitched his third and final no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers.

#4 - Cy Young

The MLB's Cy Young Award, which Justin Verlander has won four times, is awarded to each league's finest pitcher
The MLB's Cy Young Award, which Justin Verlander has won four times, is awarded to each league's finest pitcher

It says enough that the MLB's best pitcher award is named after him, but Cy Young was truly baseball's first pitching icon. He pitched for five teams from 1890-1911 and recorded three no-hitters in the process. He holds the MLB win record with 511, along with the record for most complete games at a mind-boggling 749.

Young pitched his first no-hitter on September 18, 1897, against the Cincinnati Reds. His second and most impressive no-hitter came on May 5, 1904, against the Philadelphia Athletics. It also happened to be a perfect game and it came three days after Young pitched a one-hitter against the same team. He pitched his final no-hitter on June 30, 1908, against the New York Yankees.

#3 - Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander has three career no-hitters
Justin Verlander has three career no-hitters

A no-hitter king in more recent memory is Justin Verlander. Verlander pitched his first no-hitter on June 12, 2007, against the Milwaukee Brewers in a game that saw him record 12 strikeouts and four walks.

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Verlander seems to have the Toronto Blue Jays' number as his last two no-hitters have been against them. On May 7, 2011, Verlander let his fielders work as he recorded only four strikeouts in a complete game no-hitter. Eight years later, Verlander fanned 14 Blue Jays on September 1, 2019, leaving them hitless at their home stadium, Rogers Center.

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#2 - Sandy Koufax

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is introduced during 2014's Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is introduced during 2014's Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony

The legendary Sandy Koufax is one of the finest pitchers to ever play in the MLB. He played 12 seasons for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955-66. He pitched his first Major League game at just 19-years-old and was forced to retire at age 30 due to elbow complications. Who knows what the talented left-hander could've accomplished with an extra ten or so years in the Bigs. In his 12 seasons, he posted a marvelous 2.76 ERA with 2,396 strikeouts.

Koufax pitched four no-hitters during his career. His first was on June 30, 1962, against the New York Mets, in which he pitched an immaculate inning, striking out three straight batters on nine pitches. The following year, he no-hit the San Francisco Giants on May 11, 1963, in a game where he pitched eight perfect innings. In 1964, he kept the annual streak going by no-hitting the Philadelphia Phillies on June 4, 1964. Koufax's throwing arm was just about destroyed by 1965, but he still managed to pitch his final no-hitter—which was also a perfect game—on September 9, 1965, against the Chicago Cubs. He struck out 14 batters and became the first MLB pitcher with four career no-hitters.

#1 - Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan holds the MLB's strikeout and no-hitter records, but never won the Cy Young
Nolan Ryan holds the MLB's strikeout and no-hitter records, but never won the Cy Young

Nolan Ryan eventually broke Sandy Koufax's record by pitching seven no-hitters over a 27-year career that lasted from 1966-93. Ryan is remembered for his sizzling pitch velocity as his fastballs often broke 100 mph. He holds the MLB total strikeout record with 5,714.

Despite all this, Ryan never won a Cy Young Award, and he never managed to pitch a perfect game. His seven no-hitters, however, are a testiment to Ryan's unmatched dominance and consistency. He threw two no-hitters during the 1973 season, one against the Kansas City Royals and the other against the Detroit Tigers. He recorded his third career no-hitter in 1974 against the Minnesota Twins, and then tied Koufax's record in 1975 with his fourth no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles.

It took Ryan six more years to break Koufax's record, but he eventually did so on September 26, 1981, against the Houston Astros. After that, Ryan waited another nine years before increasing the MLB record to six no-hitters. On June 11, 1990, he no-hit the Oakland Athletics, and on May 1, 1991, he no-hit the Blue Jays at age 44.


Edited by Jodi Whisenhunt

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