Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas
By now you know the story about Jered Weaver and Jose Arrendondo of the Angels no-hitting the Dodgers for eight innings this past weekend and losing the game 1-0. But what you may not know is that, back in 1991, none other than Fay Vincent headed a committee named the “Committee for Statistical Accuracy” (you can’t make this stuff up) which unilaterally decided, among other things, that a no-hitter couldn’t be a no-hitter unless a pitcher (or pitchers) pitched at least nine innings of no-hit ball.
What’s the stupidity level of this? Well, it’s very high, to say the least. Criticized at the time for defying common sense (after all, if you give up no hits you’ve pitched a no-hitter, right? Well, right for the first 100 years or so of baseball – possibly wrong after 1991), about 50 no-hitters were “unrecognized” as no-hitters as a result of this committee’s “work” (yes, these guys were “experts” in the field of baseball statistics).
How did this come about? Well, you Yankee fans will remember the fiasco of Andy Hawkins pitching an eight-inning no-hitter against the White Sox on July 1, 1990 and losing 4-0 (now that’s hard to do). Throw in a few rain-shortened five or six inning no-hitters and the powers-that-be decided something had to be done. Shortly after the new no-hit rule came into being, Matt Young of the Red Sox did what Hawkins did – he pitched an eight-inning no-hitter against Cleveland and lost 1-0. What had been a no-hitter since the dawn of baseball was no longer a no-hitter in the eyes of the Committee for Statistical Accuracy and, thus, Major League Baseball.
Which takes us to this past weekend. This should be what it is – a combined eight- inning no-hitter for Weaver and Arrendondo. But the powers-that-be seem to blow it off because it’s only the third time it’s happened since 1961 (so what?). Some of the beauty of baseball is in the stats – more so, obviously, than any other sport. But a no-hitter is a no-hitter is a no-hitter. You could certainly differentiate them in the record book as eight inning no-hitters versus nine inning no-hitters. But to recognize one no-hitter (nine innings) as a no-hitter and another no-hitter (eight innings) as not a no-hitter is intellectually stupid. This isn’t brain surgery, fellas.
And here’s the really interesting thing in the no-hit analysis. When Young and Hawkins threw their respective eight-inning no-hitters, they were (correctly) credited with complete games. After all, as the visiting team, their team would have to get up nine times since they were losing. By definition, the home team (who had been no-hit) didn’t have to get up nine times because they won the game.
Maybe you didn’t know this, but whenever a pitcher pitches eight innings and loses (i.e., he doesn’t pitch the ninth because he pitches for the visiting team that loses after the top of the ninth), he’s credited with a complete game. Thankfully, the Committee for Statistical Stupidity didn’t change that one as well. For example, Roy Halladay of Toronto was given credit for a complete game on April 23 of this season while losing 5-3 and pitching “only” eight innings.
The inconsistency is obvious. All a visiting pitcher can do is pitch eight innings if his team is losing. He can’t pitch nine (or more) unless his team ties up the game or goes ahead. This is intro to baseball stuff. So, too, in the no-hit situation, the visiting pitcher can only pitch eight innings. It’s not his fault. So Andy Hawkins in 1990 and Matt Young in 1992 both were credited with complete game losing efforts. Neither, however, by today’s standards, pitched a no-hitter. Beyond stupid.
It’s not too late to fix this (after all, Andy Hawkins’ no-hitter was viewed to be a no-hitter until the “Committee” said it wasn’t). Simply recognize no-hitters for what they are – no-hitters – and have a list of eight-inning no-hitters or nine-inning no-hitters or rain-shortened no-hitters or any list you want to make with respect to no-hitters. Once that is done, then the Committee for Statistical Accuracy would be statistically accurate.