Madison Bumgarner was sensible on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
The huge lefty gave credit score to the shadows at Truist Park in his fast postgame interview with the Diamondbacks’ broadcast crew, however he was simply being modest. This was classic Bumgarner, a welcome sight for Arizona baseball followers who had too usually watched a subpar model of the Giants’ World Series hero since he signed in the desert earlier than the 2020 season.
Bumgarner confronted 21 Atlanta hitters over seven innings, and he didn’t enable a hit or a stroll. The solely runner reached on an error in the second, however was rapidly erased on a double play. Because this was a 2021 doubleheader, it was a seven-inning recreation. Bumgarner will get credit score for a full recreation in the historical past books.
He doesn’t get credit score for an “official” no-hitter, although.
If you’ve checked in on baseball Twitter since the finish of his gem Sunday afternoon — not a straightforward process, what with Oscars Twitter and NFL Twitter taking on a lot bandwidth — you’ve little question seen tons and many sensible baseball individuals railing in opposition to this determination, which MLB made when it opted to shorten doubleheaders for the 2020 season and re-upped once more for the 2021 marketing campaign, lengthy earlier than MadBum toed the rubber Sunday.
The definition from the Elias Sports Bureau, earlier than the 2020 season: “No-hitters by teams and individuals shall not be credited in scheduled seven-inning games, unless the game goes to extra innings and the team (or individual in a complete game) pitches at least nine innings and does not allow a hit.”
Here’s an unpopular, however strongly held, opinion: Keeping Madison Bumgarner off the official record of no-hitters, as presently outlined (we’ll come again to this), is the proper name.
Because right here’s the fact: Getting 21 outs with out permitting a hit is just not the same as getting 27 outs with out a hit. It’s simply not, and any argument to the opposite is silly and flawed. Neither is straightforward, clearly, however getting 21 outs sans hits is much less difficult than getting 27 outs with out permitting a hit. There are 307 formally acknowledged no-hitters; ask just about anybody on that record of 307 they usually’ll let you know final six outs are the hardest outs of a no-hitter. Better but, ask anybody who got here near a 27-out no-hitter and fell quick, they usually’ll positively let you know these final six are the hardest outs.
Here’s a list of 11 no-hit bids that ended after 26 outs. Dave Stieb is on that record for his Aug. 4, 1989, effort; it was certainly one of 4 instances in Stieb’s profession that he carried a no-no into the ninth inning solely to have it damaged up (he did lastly end a no-hitter in 1990). The record of no-hit bids carried by seven innings is totally a lot, for much longer than the record of 307 accomplished, official no-hitters.
Once upon a time, Bumgarner’s gem would have counted. But in 1991, MLB convened a baseball statistical accuracy committee, chaired by commissioner Fay Vincent, and that group got here up with this willpower: An official no-hitter is “a game in which a pitcher, or pitchers, gives up no hits while pitching at least nine innings. A pitcher may give up a run or runs so long as he pitches nine innings or more and does not give up a hit.”
The argument for Bumgarner, in fact, is that he by no means had a likelihood to pitch 9 innings, as a result of it was scheduled as a seven-inning recreation. And if he by no means had a likelihood to pitch 9 innings, he ought to get credit score for finishing the recreation as scheduled with out permitting a hit by having his effort acknowledged as an “official” no-hitter.
And, yeah, that is smart. I get the logic.
He was requested after the recreation if he thought it ought to depend.
“I mean, I don’t know,” he mentioned, in classic Bumgarner cadence and drawl. “I didn’t give up any hits today. I’m not in control of how many innings we’re playing. I like the seven-inning double-header thing. I don’t know.”
Historical context is essential, although. This isn’t the first time a pitcher has completed a recreation with out permitting a hit and never gotten credit score for an “official” no-hitter. According to the Baseball-Reference Bullpen section, that 1991 ruling erased 31 no-hit gems from the official record; these had been all formally acknowledged remaining video games, too, most ended by rain or darkness (in the pre-stadium lights days).
It additionally worn out video games like Andy Hawkins’ eight-inning no-hit effort in 1990. Hawkins’ Yankees and the White Sox had been tied 0-0 heading into the backside of the eighth in Chicago. With two outs, younger ChiSox speedster Sammy Sosa — yep, him — reached on an error by third baseman Mike Blowers, after which he stole second. Hawkins walked the subsequent two batters to load the bases. Robin Ventura lofted a lazy fly ball to left discipline that ought to have ended the inning, however Jim Leyritz — a catcher by commerce — dropped the ball (it was windy, however the ball hit the glove squarely), and all three runners scored.
Then Ivan Calderon lofted a lazy fly ball to proper discipline, however Jesse Barfield dropped that one, too, and Ventura scored to place the White Sox up 4-0. When the Yankees didn’t tie the recreation in the high of the ninth, the recreation was over. Hawkins was initially in the no-hit membership, however the 1991 ruling — a dialogue, little question spurred by the Hawkins recreation, and a rain-shortened six-inning no-hitter by Melido Perez 11 days later — booted him out.
Bumgarner’s scheduled seven-inning no-hit effort isn’t even the first scheduled seven-inning no-hit effort in baseball historical past. That occurred in 1906, when Cincinnati’s Jake Weimer shut down Brooklyn. So there may be historic priority. Bumgarner’s plight isn’t distinctive. It’s simply new and due to this fact a speaking level.
And, yeah, it stinks for Bumgarner that he, basically, had no likelihood to affix the record. I utterly agree.
That’s why it’s good to have this dialog, as a result of one thing does should be carried out to honor Bumgarner’s gem, Weimer’s gem and Hawkins’ wonderful effort. So right here’s a answer: MLB must create a second “official” record of no-hitters (what does “official” actually imply anyway?). Let the one record keep as is, as outlined by the 1991 committee’s determination.
The different one consists of every thing else: any no-hit effort that falls short of nine innings due to scheduling, rain or darkness, and likewise any no-hit effort that lasted not less than 9 innings however resulted in extras. Here’s a wonderful collection of those games. That brings Pedro Martinez again into the fold after his 9 excellent innings in 1995 and Rich Hill’s 9 no-hit frames in 2017 — each resulted in the tenth — and Harvey Haddix’s 12 excellent innings that had been spoiled by a hit in the thirteenth in 1959. This second official record can be stuffed with the tales that make baseball nice, the quirks and heartbreak and all that great things.
It’s a easy answer. It provides much-deserved, usually long-overdue recognition to pitchers who had been sensible, however not by the narrowly outlined phrases of the 1991 committee’s determination. And it additionally retains the conventional record of no-hitters, properly, conventional. It’s a win-win.
Make it occur, MLB. And when you’re fixing issues, do away with seven-inning double-headers and magical runners in additional innings. Those are hurting the recreation.