Twenty-seven players in major league history have thrown multiple no-hitters, including Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Bob Feller, Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander.
And now, so has Tim Lincecum, who flummoxed the San Diego Padres from start to finish in a 4-0 win Wednesday. Lincecum allowed just one batter to reach base and finished with six strikeouts in the 113-pitch effort.
“I thought it was great,” Texas Rangers broadcaster and former MLB pitcher Steve Busby said on The MoJo Show. “I got a chance to watch the last inning out here at the ball park, and boy, he was tremendous. He had as good of a breaking ball as I’ve ever seen. He’s the kind of guy that when he gets on a roll like that, he’s pretty unflappable – and he sure was (Wednesday).”
It was Lincecum’s second no-hitter in as many seasons – both coming against San Diego. The first came in July 2013, when the San Francisco righty threw 148 pitches and finished with 13 strikeouts.
Busby knows what it’s like to toss no-hitters in back-to-back seasons, as he accomplished the feat for Kansas City in 1973-74. Busby, 64, threw a no-hitter against Detroit in 1973 and against Milwaukee in ’74.
“It didn’t get to me until the ninth inning,” Busby said of the first no-no. “I didn’t pay much attention to it until the ninth inning. The good thing about both those games, they were low-scoring games. I was at the point where the only thing I could focus on was trying to win the ball game first. That kept me out of playing mind games with myself.”
“I never really considered myself the kind of pitcher who had no-hit kind of stuff,” Busby continued. “I felt I was a good pitcher, but I sure didn’t put myself in the category of people like Nolan Ryan, who, when he took his good stuff out there, there was a chance he was going to do something spectacular.”
Busby took a 3-0 lead into the ninth against Detroit.
“My first and foremost thought was to win the ball game,” he recalled. “I really had to fight to keep that in the front of my mind because I walked the leadoff hitter in that inning. All of a sudden, one pitch later it could be a one-run game. It just so happened that I got a line-drive double play on the first pitch, and then Bill Freehan popped up the first pitch (in the next at-bat). So two pitches away from walking the leadoff man, I’m out of the inning, and I didn’t really have a whole lot of time to think about, ‘What happens if?’”
Busby, a two-time All-Star, was a two-pitch pitcher – by 1970s standards, anyway. He threw a fastball and a slider, but he threw a cutter, a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball and mixed speeds with his slider – one of which could have been considered a curveball.
“I probably threw six pitches,” Busby said. “It just depends on how you look at it.”