Quiz: Homer & the Chief — SOLVED

In the wake of Homer Bailey‘s big contract … Since 1916, what feat is shared by only Bailey and Allie Reynolds?

(My quizzes have often given too much info up front. Not this time!)

Congratulations to Bix and Jim! Both correctly answered that Allie Reynolds and Homer Bailey are the only pitchers from 1916-2013 with at least two no-hitters in which the opposing starting pitcher had already thrown a no-hitter or would do so in the future.

In fact, Reynolds and Bailey both had one of each:

  • On July 12, 1951, Reynolds defeated Bob Feller, 1-0, behind Gene Woodling’s 7th-inning home run. Feller had already thrown all three of his no-hitters, including the previous one in the majors, just 11 days earlier. (In the nightcap of that Feller no-no, Bob Chakales held Detroit to 4 hits for his only career shutout.)
  • Then, on Sept. 28, 1951, Reynolds held the Red Sox hitless and bested Mel Parnell, as the Yankees clinched a share of their third straight pennant (they’d lock it up in the nightcap). Parnell got his no-hitter about five years later, in his final season.
  • On September 28, 2012, Bailey no-hit Pittsburgh, nursing a 1-0 lead all the way from the top of the 1st inning to beat A.J. Burnett. It was the first no-hitter against the Bucs since Bob Gibson in 1971, and it sealed their 20th straight non-winning season. Eleven years earlier, Burnett had no-hit the Padres, setting a searchable record of 9 walks in a regulation-no-hitter (he also hit a man).
  • Then, on July 2, 2013, Bailey turned the trick on San Francisco and Tim Lincecum. Eleven days later, The Freak flung 148 pitches and no-hit the Padres.

Incidentally, none of the seven pitchers whom Nolan Ryan defeated in his no-hitters ever threw one themselves.

26 thoughts on “Quiz: Homer & the Chief — SOLVED

  1. 1
    Bix says:

    They both threw no-hitters on a September 28 (1951 for Reynolds, 2012 for Bailey).

    • 2
      bstar says:

      Oddly, Nolan Ryan has a no-hitter on Sept. 28 also (1974).

      • 4
        John Autin says:

        b, there are about 180 days in a season, and 192 no-hitters from 1916-2013. I can’t do the math — even the birthday problem overwhelms me — but my gut says it’s extremely likely that several dates will be graced with 3 or more no-hitters.


      • 6
        John Autin says:

        In fact, 14 dates had 3 or more individual no-hitters, 1916-2013, four of those in September:

        6 — April 27
        5 — May 15
        4 — April 30
        3 — April 16, May 6, May 11, May 12, June 1, June 12, August 26, Sept. 9, Sept. 16, Sept. 28, Sept. 29.

        • 7
          John Autin says:

          The following dates had NO no-hitters, 1916-2013:

          April 3 or earlier
          April 05, 06, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 25, 26
          May 04, 13, 16, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31
          June 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 28
          July 05, 06, 07, 08, 11, 16, 21, 22, 24, 25, 31
          August 02, 03, 04, 06, 07, 10, 12, 16, 22, 23, 28, 29
          September 05, 12, 15, 23, 24, 27
          October 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 09, anything later

          (Oct. 06 and 08 had postseason no-hitters.)

    • 3
      John Autin says:

      Terrific observation, Bix. But Nolan Ryan also had a Sept. 28 no-hitter.

      • 5
        bstar says:

        One more: the A’s also tossed a combined no-hitter on Sept. 28, 1975. Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Linblad, and Rollie Fingers all pitched in.

        Only 5 strikeouts for the A’s staff vs. the Angels that day.

  2. 8
    Richard Chester says:

    It could be that they are the only pitchers with a no-hitter and a 1-0 win on Sept. 28.

  3. 9
    Doug says:

    I think I’ve got it.

    In his first no-hitter, Reynolds defeated the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter (Bob Feller).

    In his second no-hitter, Bailey defeated the next pitcher to throw a no-hitter (Tim Lincecum).

    In both cases, the proximate no-hitters were separated by 11 days.

    If that’s it, I’ll leave John to somehow put that into an intelligible sentence. My attempt would go something like:

    “Reynolds and Bailey are the only pitchers since 1916 to record two no-hitters in a contiguous period in which no other no-hitters were pitched (i.e. “consecutive”), including one in which the defeated pitcher had pitched or would pitch the most proximate no-hitter (within no more than 11 days)”. Not sure if the parts in brackets are needed or not needed.

    • 10
      John Autin says:

      Doug, that’s a great find. Getting warm, but still not what our panel is after.

      Neither dates nor intervening no-hitters are a factor.

    • 17
      James Smyth says:

      Side note: Pitchers that were opposing starter in a no-hitter, then pitched the next one

      1883 – Hugh Daily and the Cleveland Blues were no-hit by Old Hoss Radbourn, then he no-hit the Phillies two months later

      1906 – Mal Eason and the Brooklyn Superbas were no-hit by Johnny Lush and two months later he threw a no-no vs. the Cardinals

      1947 – Bill McCahan of the A’s was on the wrong end of Don Black’s no-hitter, but two months later he threw one of his own against the Senators

      2013 – Bailey no-hit Lincecum and the Giants, Timmy threw one 11 days later in San Diego

  4. 11
    Jim says:

    They’re the only two major leaguers who have never been in my kitchen.

  5. 12
    Richard Chester says:

    The second of their no-hitters came 18 game appearances after their first no-hitters.

    • 13
      John Autin says:

      Richard, the answer I’m seeking does not involve dates, scores, the number of days in between the Reynolds & Bailey no-hitters, or other no-hitters intervening.

      So far, Doug @9 is closest to the right path, but we still need to take a fork in that road.

  6. 14
    Mike L says:

    Looking at the wrong thing. We should be looking at the four no hitters thrown in 1916. Tom Hughes, Rube Foster, Joe Bush, and Dutch Leonard

    • 15
      John Autin says:

      Mike L, I’m not sure where you’re going, but the third-base coach isn’t waving you in. 🙂

      I will say that I had to check Dutch Leonard’s no-hitters (among others) to determine uniqueness of the Reynolds/Bailey feat.

  7. 19
    Bix says:

    They have both thrown 2 no-hitters. In each one, they pitcher they defeated has ALSO thrown a no-hitter. Bailey beat Lincecum and Burnett. Reynolds beat Parnell and Feller.

  8. 20
    Jim says:

    Are they the only ones to throw multiple no-hitters against starters who also had thrown or would throw no-hitters?

  9. 22
    Michael Sullivan says:

    So now that the quiz is solved…

    I’m wondering about this contract. The good here is that it’s only 6 years and he’s still fairly young, so good chace he’ll be in his prime for the whole thing, barring injury.

    That said, while he’s had two solid years, he’s done nothing to suggest he’s on an all-star path, and 17.5m/year seems like an awful lot of money for a guy who looks like he’s probably not going to be ace level.

    Even if we figure his career is still on an upward trajectory, I think it’s very optimistic to figure him for averaging 4 war/year for 6 years, which would be 24 WAR which means they’d be paying 4.4m/WAR. That’s reasonable, but that’s a *very* optimistic projection and probably not far from his ceiling.

    A more realistic central case, given the possibility for injury, etc. might be that he does 3 WAR/season over the next 6 years, which gets you to $5.8m/war.

    That looks awfully steep for a guy without major star power (No AS, no CY votes, no dramatic traditional stats). Seems like either the general rate is up or headed up fast (in which case his back-loaded contract has a lower NPV), or someone is seeing something in him that the stats don’t show. Anybody who watches the Reds have any insight?

    • 23
      Baltimorechop says:

      Reds fan here. I think we overpaid because Cincy has trouble attracting free agents. Poor decision IMO.

    • 24
      John Autin says:

      Michael — I think all your points are pretty reasonable, but I still think the contract isn’t crazy in today’s market. If Bailey does produce 18 WAR over 6 years, I think the Reds will look back on that rate of $5.8m/WAR without regret.

      And I think Bailey has a little more star potential than you said, given his basic rates last year. Going back to the 2012 midpoint, in his last 50 starts, Bailey has a 3.35 ERA, 8.4 SO/9 and 3.9 SO/BB. He pitched extremely well in his lone postseason start. Two no-hitters may also speak to star potential.

      Last year, Bailey set career bests not just in SO/9 and SO/BB, but also GB/FB ratio, which helped him to career bests in HR% and DP%. Sure, that could prove to be his peak. On the other hand, his 2013 results could have been even better, if not for a spike in his RISP rates. If he repeats the rest of those rates and couples that with career norm in RISP, that’s an All-Star.

      • 26
        Michael Sullivan says:

        I should have said “consistent all-star”. I think it’s reasonable to project him as a guy who will continue to have solid years and a few all-star level years (4-5 WAR). But I think his chances of injury, fatigue, or getting figured out are significantly higher than his chances of doing better than that. Averaging 4WAR per year even during your peak is *really* good, and he hasn’t yet had a single season of 4WAR, so predicting would be very optimistic.

        Note: my base level assumption is that no contract is crazy just because I can run a few numbers and make it look bad. The people making these decisions are *supposed* to know more than I do about both the players they are signing, and the future market for baseball talent, so my first thought when looking at an odd contract is always “what could make this reasonable?”

        It sounds like you’re on board with the idea that salaries are climbing quickly again, so 6m/WAR will look reasonable in a couple years, and in NPV or YTY terms it’s more in line with the current market. That suggests a lot of contracts this offseason and next will get big. It will be interesting to see what happens when some bigger stars hit the market.

        Trouble attracting free agents, brought up in 23, is another reasonable explanation, but not one I would like if I were a fan of the franchise. In that bad position, it might be well worth overpaying for a couple high-profile guys if the reason is people not believing you’ll pay for the talent to compete and you could change that perception. Sounds like baltimorechop isn’t buying that this will be enough to do that though.

  10. 25
    DaveR says:

    Oddly, both Parnell and Feller no-hit the White Sox, and Burnett and Lincecum no-hit San Diego.

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