September 17, 1996: Nomo’s no-way no-no

By Mark Langill

Hideo Nomo pitched two career no-hitters, but 20 years later, it’s still hard to fathom his first milestone as a member of the Dodgers on September 17, 1996 in Colorado.

Nomo’s no-no during a 9-0 victory at Coors Field is still portrayed as a “man vs. the elements” challenge like a National Geographic documentary. In addition to the high altitude that often facilitates high-scoring affairs, a rainstorm delayed the game for 64 minutes and prompted Nomo to ditch his windup and pitch from the stretch position.

nomo-two-out

Nomo made 110 pitches (66 strikes, 44 balls). He retired the side in order in the ninth inning: Eric Young and Quinton McCracken grounded out to second baseman Delino DeShields. Ellis Burks, batting .348 at the time, struck out on a 2-2 pitch.  It remains the only no-hitter in the history of Coors Field. Two other pitchers have thrown a complete-game one-hitter: Florida’s Pat Rapp (1995) and Houston’s Roy Oswalt (2008).

The lineup Nomo faced was a mixture of Colorado’s “Blake Street Bombers” – Ellis Burks, Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga and Vinny Castilla – along with a pair of rookies called up in September. Shortstop Neffi Perez made his fourth Major League start because veteran Walt Weiss had strained a calf muscle the previous night. Another rookie, Terry Jones, was sent to the plate as a pinch-hitter to lead off the eighth inning. In his first big league at-bat, Jones struck out on three pitches.

In Nomo’s two previous starts in Denver in 1995 and 1996, he received no-decisions, and the scores of the game were 12-10 and 16-15. During his 12-year MLB career, Nomo made 10 starts at Colorado and went 3-1 with an 8.05 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. His other no-hitter was as a member of the Boston Red Sox at Baltimore in 2001.

In our ongoing #VinTop20 poll, fans ranked Vin Scully’s call of Nomo’s no-hitter at Coors Field No. 14 of all time.

1 Comment

I remember this no-hitter because it was at Coors field. Even a shutout surprises us.

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