When a pitcher throws a no-hitter, the second-most important and notable player on the field is, almost always, the catcher. While we define no-hitters by the pitchers to throw them, and rightfully so, some adulation should always be saved for those behind the plate during such feats as well.
Two catchers have been behind the plate for four no-hitters, including the postseason: Jason Varitek and Carlos Ruiz, who are tied for the most in history.
There have been 17 catchers in MLB history to be the starter for at least three no-hitters, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Here’s a look at the catchers with the most no-hitters caught.
May 29, 2010: Roy Halladay (perfect game), PHI
Oct. 6, 2010: Halladay (NLDS G1), PHI
Sept. 1, 2014: Combined (Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Jonathan Papelbon), PHI
July 25, 2015: Cole Hamels, PHI
Ruiz played for the Phillies from 2006-16, and caught every no-hitter the team threw in that span. And, given that Halladay’s postseason no-hitter was the second in history after Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game, Ruiz is one of two catchers to catch a postseason no-no, along with Yogi Berra. Ruiz was always a fan favorite in Philadelphia, and it’s easy to see why, as he guided the pitching staff to such heights.
April 4, 2001: Hideo Nomo, BOS
April 27, 2002: Derek Lowe, BOS
Sept. 1, 2007: Clay Buchholz, BOS
May 19, 2008: Jon Lester, BOS
When Varitek caught Nomo’s no-hitter — in his first career start with the Red Sox, no less – the Red Sox hadn’t thrown one since Dave Morehead did so in 1965. Under Varitek’s leadership behind the plate, the Sox threw four in an eight-year span. Lester’s no-hitter in ‘08, caught by Varitek, is the team’s most recent no-no.
Sept. 28, 2014: Jordan Zimmermann, WSH
June 20, 2015: Max Scherzer, WSH
Oct. 3, 2015: Scherzer, WSH
Ramos didn’t just catch three no-hitters– he did it in a two-season span. And, given that Zimmermann’s was in Game 162 and Scherzer’s second was in Game 161, he really did in a 162-game span, or a one-season span. Ramos is one of four catchers to be behind the plate for two no-hitters for the same pitcher in a single season (including playoffs), along with 1938 Ernie Lombardi catching Johnny Vander Meer, 1951 Yogi Berra with Allie Reynolds and 2010 Ruiz with Halladay.
June 13, 2012: Matt Cain (perfect game), SF
July 13, 2013: Tim Lincecum, SF
June 9, 2015: Chris Heston, SF
Three no-hitters are another line on Posey’s impressive resume, which includes a Rookie of the Year Award, MVP, three World Series titles, seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Sluggers, a Gold Glove and a batting title. Cain’s perfect game was the first, and thus far only, in the storied history of the Giants franchise.
May 11, 1996: Al Leiter, FLA
June 10, 1997: Kevin Brown, FLA
May 12, 2001: A.J. Burnett, FLA
Johnson caught each of the first three no-hitters in Marlins history. He won four Gold Glove Awards in his career and was a two-time All-Star, as well as a World Series champion with the Marlins in 1997. He played 587 of his 1,188 career games in a Marlins uniform, and certainly made a mark on the franchise.
April 7, 1979: Ken Forsch, HOU
Sept. 26, 1981: Nolan Ryan, HOU
Sept. 25, 1986: Mike Scott, HOU
Ashby is one of seven different catchers to receive a Nolan Ryan no-hitter. That’s right– Ryan threw seven, to seven different catchers. The first no-hitter Ashby caught, from Forsch in the Astros’ second game of the season in ‘79, was just the second regular-season game the catcher had ever played in a Houston uniform.
Sept. 9, 1965: Sandy Koufax (perfect game), LAD
July 20, 1970: Bill Singer, LAD
May 15, 1973: Nolan Ryan, CAL
Torborg, like Posey and Ruiz, caught a perfect game for his first-ever no-hitter. Torborg’s, like Ruiz’s, was thrown by a Hall of Famer, in Koufax. Torborg also caught Ryan’s first career no-hitter, out of a record seven, as noted above all to different catchers.
June 12, 1954: Jim Wilson, MLN
Aug. 18, 1960: Lew Burdette, MLN
Sept. 16, 1960: Warren Spahn, MLN
Crandall was an 11-time All-Star (in the days of multiple All-Star Games, in eight years) and four-time Gold Glove winner, as well as a 1957 World Series champion with the Milwaukee Braves. In 1954, Crandall was an All-Star for the second time and caught his first no-hitter, from Wilson. Then, in ‘60, he caught two no-hitters, was an All-Star, this time for the seventh year, and won his third Gold Glove.
June 19, 1952: Carl Erskine, BRO
May 12, 1956: Carl Erskine, BRO
Sept. 25, 1956: Sal Maglie, BRO
Campanella won three MVP Awards, a batting title, the 1955 World Series and was an 11-time All-Star. Another item likely noted in his case when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame? Those three no-hitters with the Brooklyn Dodgers, including two from one pitcher (Erskine) and two in a single season (1956, from Erskine and Maglie).
July 12, 1951: Allie Reynolds, NYY
Sept. 28, 1951: Reynolds, NYY
Oct. 8, 1956: Don Larsen (WS G5, perfect game), NYY
Berra’s accolades are well-documented: a three-time MVP, 18-time All-Star, 10-time World Series champion and a Hall of Famer. And he caught three no-hitters with the Yankees. Reynolds’ first no-hitter was the Yankees’ first since Monte Pearson in 1938, and the team wouldn’t throw another after Larsen’s until Dave Righetti in ‘83.
July 10, 1947: Don Black, CLE
June 30, 1948: Bob Lemon, CLE
July 1, 1951: Bob Feller, CLE
Hegan was a five-time All-Star and a 1948 World Series champion with Cleveland. Feller’s three no-hitters each had a different catcher, with Hegan being the final one to do so. Hegan is the only catcher in Cleveland history to catch multiple no-hitters, let alone three.
April 29, 1931: Wes Ferrell, CLE
Aug. 31, 1935: Vern Kennedy, CHW
June 1, 1937: Bill Dietrich, CHW
Sewell’s older brother Joe is in the Hall of Fame, and his younger brother Tommy played in one MLB game, for the Cubs in 1927. Their cousin, Rip, also played in the Majors, as a pitcher. But Luke was the catcher, receiving three no-hitters in his career — all in a seven-season span for Cleveland and then the White Sox.
Aug. 26, 1916: Bullet Joe Bush, PHA
July 1, 1920: Walter Johnson, WSA
Sept. 7, 1923: Howard Ehmke, BOS
Picinich caught three no-hitters for three different franchises, the only catcher to accomplish such a feat. Picinich was 19 years old in 1916 when he caught his first no-no, from Bush, for the Philadelphia Athletics. His second was for the Washington Senators and his third, with Ehmke in ‘23 for the Red Sox, came the day before Picinich’s 27th birthday.
May 31, 1914: Ray Benz, CHW
April 14, 1917: Eddie Cicotte, CHW
April 30, 1922: Charlie Robertson (perfect game), CHW
July 29, 1911: Smoky Joe Wood, BOS
June 21, 1916: Rube Foster, BOS
Aug. 30, 1916: Dutch Leonard, BOS
July 8, 1898: Red Donahue, PHI
Sept. 20, 1902: Jimmy Callahan, CHW
Sept. 6, 1905: Frank Smith, CHW
Aug. 19, 1880: Larry Corcoran, CHC
Sept. 20, 1882 Larry Corcoran, CHC
July 27, 1885: John Clarkson, CHC