R.A. Dickey pitched consecutive one-hitters earlier this month. How rare is that?
Anytime something hasn’t happened in nearly a quarter-century, we’ll chalk that up as pretty rare.
The Mets’ knuckleballer has followed up his near no-hitter against the Rays with another one-hitter against the Orioles. No pitcher had accomplished that feat since Toronto’s Dave Stieb in Sept. 1988.
It is only the eighth time someone has pitched back-to-back one-hitters in the history of the American and National Leagues. If Dickey one-hits the Yankees on Sunday night, he’ll be alone in the record books.
Of course, Johnny Vander Meer’s consecutive no-hitters usually get a lot more publicity, every time a pitcher with a no-hitter makes his next start. That’s the power of being the only person to accomplish something in the 144-year history of the major leagues.
But Dickey’s accomplishment is more rare — and, in our opinion, more impressive — than your standard 149-pitch, eight-walk Edwin Jackson no-hitter from a couple of years ago.
If Dickey gets another one-hitter in his next start after Sunday, he would match Stieb for the record for fewest consecutive starts to achieve three low-hit (one-hit or no-hit) games, according to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
Stieb’s streak was even more amazing considering how those one-hitters went for the second-winningest pitcher of the 1980s. In each of the 1988 one-hitters, Stieb, who won 176 games in his career, was down to the final strike in the ninth inning before surrendering a single to break up the no-hitter. Those were his final two starts of the season.
In 1989, after a ho-hum four-hit, eight-inning performance on Opening Day, he got through 8 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Yankees before surrendering his lone hit.
Stieb finally got his no-hitter more than a year later, when he blanked Cleveland in Sept. 1990.
Who holds the record for the most one-hit games? One of the two record holders is the same pitcher who has the most no-hitters: Nolan Ryan.
Ryan, who has seven no-hitters, pitched 12 one-hitters. Bob Feller, who has three no-hitters, also has 12, which is the American League record.