The Difference Between a No-Hitter vs. a Perfect Game

If you love the game of baseball you may be waiting on the edge of your seat hoping to see your favorite player pitch a complete game that is a no-hitter or even a perfect game. However, in Major League Baseball history, there have been minimal no-hitters and even fewer perfect game incidents. 

Pitching a no-hit game in nine innings is no easy task but some baseball fans don’t realize there is a difference between no-hitters and perfect games. 

Here’s everything you need to know that can help you understand the difference between these two baseball terms. 

Difference Between No-Hitter vs. Perfect Game

While they may seem like similar things, there are actually a few differences between a no-hitter and a perfect game. 

A no-hitter means that a pitcher was able to pitch at least nine innings without the opposing team getting a hit. It doesn’t mean that the pitcher struck them all out or managed to get all the outs in a row. 

The opposing team may still score during the game. Instead of scoring with a hit, the batting team may be walked or even gain points with infield and outfield mistakes. 

A nine-inning no-hitter is impressive and must be confirmed by the umpire to be an official no-hit game. A perfect game must also be officially declared. I

A perfect game is much harder to achieve for pitchers in the major leagues. A perfect game requires a single pitcher to throw a no-hitter and also get 27 outs in a row in the nine-inning game. 

This is difficult because the more a pitcher throws, the more tired and careless he/she will become. Pitchers typically get short rests when other plays are taking place and continuously pitching the ball in the same game can cause injury and stress. 

When there is a perfect game there is no need for extra innings, and once the 27 outs have been achieved, an official perfect game occurs. 

Anyone who can throw a perfect game in baseball has a chance of going down in history and setting a record. Still, a perfect game can be mentally and physically exhausting. 

Some players have reported pain and fatigue after pitching a perfect game.

Have There Ever Been Any Perfect Games?

While perfect games are rarer than no-hitters, there have been a few perfect games in MLB history. A total of 23 games have been recorded. 

There have also been a lot of notable perfect games over the years. Don Larsen of the New York Yankees is the only pitcher to have pitched the only perfect game in the World Series. 

It is also worth noting that no pitcher has ever pitched more than one perfect game. 

The first major league game to be considered a no-hitter and perfect game was pitched by John Lee Richmond in 1880. He managed to pitch the entire game with consistent outs. 

Dan McClellan is the first black pitcher to throw a perfect game in MLB history. 

How Many No-Hitters Have There Been?

Pitching an entire game of no-hitters is no easy task. Even a seven-inning no-hitter is impressive. 

In Major League Baseball history there have been several no-hitter games. Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies threw a no-hitter in the 2010 National League Division Series and Bobo Holloman threw a no-hitter in his first major league start. 

The first no-hitter thrown by a black man was in 1955 by Sam Jones. 

There have even been pitchers who have pitched two no-hitters or even three no-hitters. Cy Young (of the Boston Red Sox), Bob Feller, and Larry Corcoran are three of them. 

Sandy Koufax was the first pitcher to throw four no-hitters. But just because a pitcher is able to pitch a no hitter, it doesn’t mean that team will win the game. 

There have been many teams in baseball history that have had pitchers who have successfully pitched nine-inning no-hitters only to lose the game due to walking the player or simple infield and outfield plays. 

Can a Batter Still Score In a No-Hitter Game?

In Major League Baseball, a no-hitter doesn’t mean there will be a complete game with no points. The batter can still score. 

A no-hitter simply means that the pitcher was able to pitch without getting any hits through the entire course of the game. That may also include any extra innings. 

The reason a pitcher can pitch a nine- or even ten-inning no-hitter and still lose is because he could still be pitching balls during this game. This could allow the players to score simply by walking the bases. 

Players can also steal bases during that time and score with infield and outfield mistakes. The third baseman also has a lot of pressure during a no-hitter game. 

It’s not only the pitcher who is responsible for winning a game, and it can be frustrating when the pitcher works so hard to throw a no-hitter and still lose. Having said that, most no-hitters do result in that team winning the game in baseball.

What Is a Combined No-Hitter?

If one pitcher fails to pitch a perfect game or a no-hitter on his own, or is taken out of the game before pitching nine innings, a second no-hitter batter could be brought in to finish the game. If both pitchers threw no-hitting innings, it is considered a combined no-hitter. 

A combined no-hitter can be accomplished with two or more pitchers as long as there are no hits. One team can use as many pitchers as they choose and still have their game considered a no-hitter.

How Do No-Hitter Games Affect Fielders?

When there is a no-hitter thrown, the fielders have to play a good baseball game. The fielders have to be able to control their plays and prevent their fielding errors. 

There have been several teams in major league history that have lost in spite of a starting pitcher throwing no-hitters. Pitchers who throw consecutive no-hitters expect their fielders to perform just as well and also want to avoid a catcher’s interference. 

A no-hit ball is not enough to win a game, and it takes the entire team working together to lead to combined no-hitters.

How Do No-Hitters Affect a Pitcher or Pitchers?

A pitcher will always strive to pitch a perfect game or a no-hit game in baseball. It’s a no-no for a pitcher to throw a wild pitch on purpose, and a good baseball player will always try his best to pitch a perfect game or at the very least, a no-hitter. 

Pitchers involved in previous no-hitter games have made history. Not only does pitching a no-hitter require the pitcher to be the ultimate athlete but also in amazing physical condition. 

The more a pitcher throws, the more his/her body works and the more tired he becomes. Fatigue occurs when a pitcher throws too much, and it can affect the player for more than just one game, it could cause injury for the entire season. 

Have No-Hitters Occured In Other Leagues?

No-hitters have occurred in high school and college-level baseball games as well as other leagues, such as the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Scouts pay close attention to these players, and they are highly coveted for Major League Baseball. 

No-hitter records are always being broken and some Major League Baseball players are scouted in high school and college and even drafted at young ages because they are capable of pitching no-hitters. That doesn’t mean they will be able to do the same when they make it into the league, but many coaches are willing to give these pitchers a chance to see how they do.

Conclusion

Even in today’s modern era of baseball, there are still many pitchers who are capable of pitching no-hitters and perfect games. In fact, the most recent no-hitter was a combined no-hitter with Corbin Burnes pitching eight innings and Josh Hader pitching the other. 

The start of the regular season in 2022 could hold plenty of chances for a starting pitcher or pitchers to make history in the game of baseball. 

If you love to watch baseball and are hoping to witness the next no-hitter or perfect game, don’t give up. It’s very possible you could be a part of this wonderful experience.