Playing at home, Washington’s American and National League teams — be it the current Nationals, the original Senators or the expansion Senators — have never been no-hit.
The Nationals, 2005 to 2022:
Nationals’ fans have fond memories of the first no-hitter for the team. Jordan Zimmermann threw it at Nationals Park against the Marlins on the final day of the 2014 season. With two outs in the ninth, it took a back-to-the-plate, diving catch, by rookie outfielder Steven Sousa Jr. to preserve Zimmermann’s gem.
Sousa had just entered the game as a defensive replacement in left for Ryan Zimmerman with the Nats ahead 1-0. No knock on Zim, but with his inexperience in the outfield, there’s no way he would have caught the deep, two-out, drive by Christian Yelich.
Max Scherzer was nearly perfect in throwing the second Nats’ no-hitter, also at home, on July 20, 2015. Ahead 6-0, he lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth when the Pirates’ Jose Tabita didn’t try to avoid getting hit by an inside pitch. Max retired the next batter on a routine fly ball and said he didn’t blame Tabita.
Scherzer pitched the team’s third and most recent no-hitter and came close a second time to a perfect game on the last day of the 2015 season. At New York’s Citi Field on October 3, the Mets’ only base runner reached on a sixth-inning throwing error by third baseman Yunel Escobar.
Scherzer’s 17 strikeouts in that game tied the record for most in a no-hitter. Nolan Ryan struck out 17 in his July 15, 1973, no-hitter, the second of his seven.
The Nationals have yet to be no-hit, either at home or on the road.
(The Expos were last no-hit on July 18, 1999, in New York when the Yankees’ David Cone threw a perfect game, so the franchise hasn’t been no-hit for nearly 24 years, come April 2023. Only the A’s — last no-hit in 1991– have avoided this ignominy longer. The only time Montreal was no-hit at home was on May 23, 1991, by Tommy Greene of the Phillies.)
The original Senators, 1901 to 1960:
The only no-hitter ever pitched for or against the first Washington Senators’ team at home came on August 8, 1931, at Griffith Stadium. A journeyman left-hander, Bobby Burke, no-hit the Red Sox. He walked five and struck out eight, winning 5-0. The win was his eighth and last of a season in which he was 8-3. (The Senators won 94 games that year.)
Burke started just 13 of the 30 games in which he appeared in 1931 with an earned run average of 4.27. He lasted 10 years but started just 88 of the 266 games in which he pitched, completing just the no-hitter and two other games in 1931. He retired with a 38-46 record.
In Walter Johnson’s only no-hitter, he, like Scherzer, was denied a perfect game on an error. At Fenway Park on July 1, 1920, second baseman Bucky Harris booted a grounder in the seventh inning, allowing the lone Red Sox base runner. In the top of the inning, Harris had knocked in the only run in what became a 1-0 victory. The no-hitter, the first ever by a Senator, came during a season in which Johnson developed arm trouble and won just eight games.
The Big Train was on his way to what might have been the first no-hitter at Griffith Stadium on August 25, 1924, when rain stopped the game against the St. Louis Browns after seven innings. He had to settle for a 2-0 victory and what actually counted as a no-hitter until MLB changed the standards in 1991, wiping out dozens of credited no-hitters shortened by rain or broken up in extra innings.
The original Senators weren’t no-hit anywhere from 1901 until Sept. 3, 1947, by Bill McCahan of the Athletics, 3-0, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.
It happened twice more on the road: Virgil Trucks of the Tigers beat the Senators, 1-0, in Detroit on May 15, 1952. Then Bob Keegan of the White Sox beat them, 6-0 , in Chicago on August 20, 1957, in the second game of a double-header.
The expansion Senators 1961-1971:
The expansion team was not no-hit during its first season, when its home games were played at Griffith Stadium, nor during its remaining tenure in Washington from 1962 through 1971 at D.C. Stadium, renamed for the assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy for the 1969 season.
The closest the expansion Senators came to being no-hit at home came on July 29, 1963. Joel Horlen of the White Sox took a no-hitter into the ninth inning at D.C. Stadium, but lost it when Chuck Hinton singled with one out. Horlen got the second out before the Nats’ Don Lock won the game with a homer to deep left, beating Horlen, 2-1.
The only no-hitter thrown again the expansion team was by Sonny Siebert of the Indians on June 10, 1966, at Memorial Stadium in Cleveland. Siebert walked one — with one out in the fifth — and fanned seven. An error in the eighth allowed the only other Nats’ base runner in a 2-0 loss.
The first no-hitter ever pitched from 60-feet-6-inches from home plate came at Washington’s Boundary Field on August 16, 1993, when Bill Hawke of the National League’s Baltimore Orioles beat Washington, 5-0, the only time the Senators of that era were no-hit at home.
The N. L. Senators also were no-hit in Boston by Hall-of-Famer Vic Willis on August 7, 1899, the last year for that team. However, Willis actually gave up an untouched, bad-hop, single that the scorer called an error, but which a few days later was deemed a hit. The official league records were never updated, so this remains the second no-hitter against the N.L. Senators.
Under substantially different rules, Washington’s entries in both the American Association (June 5, 1884, in D.C.) and the Union Association in September 28, 1884, at Milwaukee) were each no-hit.