"That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium." -- Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham talking about the difference between hitting .250 and .300.
My goofy mind got rolling on some thoughts. Here's the ride it took for your edification. Last week Thorzul wrote a post that referenced an episode of Parks and Recreation. In that episode there was a baseball card shown that, it turns out, was manufactured by the show but made from a Walt Terrell card (pictured in that link).
On that card, it says that Terrell threw his first major league one-hitter in 1986. My reaction to that was "First?!?!?! Walt Terrell threw multiple one-hitters?" I was right to react in that fashion because that one-hitter was Terrell's one and only. I guess Topps was feeling optimistic about Walt's career.
Just as when most people think of no-hitters and immediately think of Nolan Ryan or perhaps Sandy Koufax, when I think of one-hitters, I think of Dave Stieb. Rightfully so, as Stieb threw five one-hitters in his career.
THAT got me thinking, what if Dave Stieb had got just one fewer extra flare in those games, just one? One fewer groundball with eyes, one fewer dying quail. What if Dave Stieb, instead of throwing five one-hitters, had instead thrown five no-hitters? I think he's in the Hall of Fame.
And that got me looking at one-hitters (for clarification, I'm talking complete game no-hitters). Who do you think has more career one-hitters, Steve Trachsel or Roger Clemens? Steve Trachsel or Greg Maddux? Steve Trachsel or Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux combined? The answers are Trachsel, Trachsel, and it's a tie (3).
Bert Blyleven had five one-hitters. Think his HOF candidacy is as protracted and full of argument if those are no-hitters?
Nolan Ryan had 12 one-hitters which may be as amazing as his seven no-hitters. Except for the fact that Bob Feller also had 12 one-hitters (say, wouldn't a Baseball Book Club involving a book about Bob Feller be a good idea (hint, hint)?).
Charlie Hough is the only player from 1919 on to have lost two one-hitters in his career, the only two he threw (and somehow he gave up two runs in both games).
Eight pitchers have thrown one-hitters and lost where their one hit was a home run. None of those were walkoffs which would have been downright torture for those pitchers. One pitch and you lost the no-hitter, the shutout and the game. It's still bad to have your one hit be a game deciding homer but if it's in the third inning, I don't think it's as painful as the bottom of the ninth.
But then maybe a one-hitter isn't that big a deal. I mean if Steve Trachsel threw three, how hard can it be?
Don Drysdale never threw one. Nor did Jim Bunning or Catfish Hunter. Andy Pettitte? Zero. The Forsch brothers and the Reuschel brothers never threw one (though both Niekro brothers did). Dwight Gooden never threw a one-hitter. Lots and lots of pitchers never threw one. Yes, it's not as rare as a no-hitter but it's still quite an accomplishment.
I don't really have a point to all this. Just thought I'd put down one of my random explorations. But anytime you get to mention Dave Stieb and Steve Trachsel, I think it's a good thing.