Houston No-Hitters, Ten Times

Congratulations to Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner for their amazing, six-pitcher no-hitter against the Yankees on June 11, 2003!

Throwing a no-hitter is generally considered one of the ultimate accomplishments for a major league pitcher. The Astros are fortunate to have had ten no-hitters thrown in franchise history, the most for any team since 1962. And better yet, all but one have been tossed in front of hometown crowds in Houston.

Each no-hitter is special in it's own way. Don Nottebart's was the first in team history. Ken Johnson became the first pitcher in major-league history to lose a no-hitter. Don Wilson struck out 15 in his first no-hitter, and his second was a "revenge" no-hitter that came one day after the Astros were no-hit by Cincinnati. Ken Forsch's gem was the earliest ever in a major league season, while Nolan Ryan's made him the career leader in no-hitters, breaking a tie with Sandy Koufax.

Mike Scott's no-hitter in 1986 clinched the NL West against the Giants, and Darryl Kile came closer to a perfect game than any Houston pitcher in history. The bullpen no-hitter in 2003 used more pitchers than any other no-hitter in MLB history. That leaves Larry Dierker's no-hitter in 1976. What was special about that one? Well, apart from the fact that it was Larry Dierker, it is probably the most special to me simply because I was there, screaming my 13-year-old lungs out in center field.

Below is a brief summary of each no-hitter. However, the GAME SUMMARY for each gem will take you to a full-page treatment of the game, complete with photos, newspaper articles, box score, complete play-by-play, and the audio broadcast for the last out.

The No-Hitters:
DatePlayerResult
May 17, 1963Don NottebartAstros 4, Phillies 1
April 23, 1964Ken JohnsonReds 1, Astros 0
June 18, 1967Don WilsonAstros 2, Braves 0
May 1, 1969Don WilsonAstros 4, Reds 0
July 9, 1976Larry DierkerAstros 6, Expos 0
April 7, 1979Ken ForschAstros 6, Braves 0
September 26, 1981Nolan RyanAstros 5, Dodgers 0
September 25, 1986Mike ScottAstros 2, Giants 0
September 8, 1993Darryl KileAstros 7, Mets 1
June 11, 2003the bullpenAstros 8, Yankees 0


Fast "No-Hitter" Facts:
1. Don Wilson is the only Astro to pitch two no-hitters
2. Wilson's second no-hitter in 1969 was the only one not pitched at home in Houston until the bullpen gem in 2003
3. Darryl Kile came closest to a perfect game, allowing only a 4th-inning walk
4. The Reds and the Braves have been no-hit twice by Houston hurlers
5. Ken Johnson's no-hitter in 1964 was the first no-hit loss in major-league history
6. Mike Scott's no-hitter in 1986 clinched the NL West title.
7. The bullpen no-hitter in 2003 used six pitchers, the most ever for the no-hitter in MLB history.


May 17, 1963 - Don Nottebart

first in team history
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Don Nottebart became the first pitcher in franchise history to toss a no-hitter, beating the Phillies 4-1 in front of 8,223 cheering fans at Colt Stadium. The Phillies squeaked their lone run across the plate in the 5th, when Dom Demeter reached second on a bad throw by J.C. Hartman, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

April 23, 1964 - Ken Johnson

in a losing cause
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Ken Johnson made major league history in a bittersweet fashion, becoming the first pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter and lose. Joe Nuxhall was pitching brilliantly for the Reds, and kept the game tied at 0-0 through eight inning. With one out in the 9th, Pete Rose tried to bunt for a base hit and reached second when Johnson made a bad throw to first. After Rose advanced to third on a ground out, second baseman Nellie Fox bobbled an easy grounder allowing Rose to score. Nuxhall pitched a scoreless ninth to give the Reds an historic 1-0 victory.

June 18, 1967 - Don Wilson

15 strikeouts
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Rookie flamethrower Don Wilson made a lasting impression on the Braves, striking out 15 batters in a dominating no-hitter. It was the first Houston no-hitter tossed in the Astrodome. Wilson finished strong, striking out five of the last six batters he faced, including a game-ending strikeout of slugger Hank Aaron.

May 1, 1969 - Don Wilson

revenge no-hitter
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Don Wilson ended the worst start in franchise history, a 4-20 start in April, with a "revenge" no-hitter against the Reds in Cincinnati. Just one day earlier, Jim Maloney had tossed a no-hitter against the Astros and extended their losing streak to 8. The team then went on a 71-45 run to move within two games of first place on September 10th before fading over the final three weeks.

July 9, 1976 - Larry Dierker

nothing but fastballs
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Larry Dierker, perhaps the player most closely identified with the franchise, pitched a 6-0 no-hitter against the Expos in his final season with the team. After four near-misses with no-hitters in his career, Dierker came at the Expos with nothing but fastballs in the last half of the game.

April 7, 1979 - Ken Forsch

first start of season
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Ken Forsch, in his first start of the season, threw a dominating no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over the Braves. With the effort, Ken joined his brother Bob as the first brother duo to toss no-hitters. The April 9th date of the game was the earliest for a no-hitter in major league history until bested by Hideo Nomo in 2001. Despite striking out just thre batters, Forsch was dominating, retiring 20 consecutive batters between the only two walks he allowed in the 2nd and 8th innings.

September 26, 1981 - Nolan Ryan

record-breaker
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Strikeout king Nolan Ryan pitched his way into the major-league record books, passing Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax by tossing his fifth career no-hitter in front of a national TV audience. The 5-0 gem against Los Angeles was especially meaningful because Houston was in a tight race with the Reds for the NL West title.

September 25, 1986 - Mike Scott

division clincher
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Mike Scott pitched the signature game in franchise history, clinching the NL West Division with a 2-0, no-hit victory over the San Francisco Giants. Despite the afternoon start time, over 32,000 fans attended in anticipation of a clinching victory, and they certainly got more than they expected. Scott's performance concluded an impressive three-game stretch by Houston starters, following a two-hitter by Jim Deshaies and a one-hitter by Nolan Ryan.

September 8, 1993 - Darryl Kile

almost perfect
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Darryl Kile came closer to perfection than any hurler in Houston history walking only one batter in a dominating, 7-1 no-hit victory over the Mets in the Astrodome. It was a fitting exclamation point for his first All-Star season, and represented what he could accomplish when he could throw his amazing curve ball for strikes.

June 11, 2003 - the bullpen

6 men, 9 innings
(c) Houston Astros
GAME STORY

Billy Wagner finished off an astonishing, six-pitcher no-hitter that resulted in 13 strikeouts in an 8-0 victory over the New York Yankees. Starter Roy Oswalt had left after the 1st inning with a groin injury. Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, and Octavio Dotel paved the way until Wagner finished off the Yankees in the 9th. It was just the second regular-season game ever between the two teams and ended a 10-year no-hitter drought for the Astros