Was Clayton Kershaw’s No-Hitter The Best Ever?

Clayton Kershaw No-Hitter

Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter Wednesday for the first time in his career and baseball folks (and Dodgers fans) have been eager to proclaim it the best of all time.

Over at the Los Angeles Times, a hallowed journalistic organ presumed to be nonetheless biased in this particular case, Steve Dilbeck argued that Kershaw’s effort Wednesday night was the “best pitching performance ever.” For evidence, he points to the Dodgers ace’s masterful command of the ball and makes a fairly tidy and persuasive case: “There have been games when pitchers had more strikeouts, but never has anyone thrown a no-hitter, struck out 15 and not walked a single batter.”

The no-hitter isn’t particularly surprising — ESPNLosAngeles called it “inevitable,” but then again, they too are probably slightly biased — given Kershaw’s particularly impressive career thus far. As FoxSports.com pointed out, his list of accomplishments already include “a pair of Cy Young Awards, three straight major league ERA titles, [and] a 20-win season.”

But Clayton Kershaw isn’t the only Dodgers pitcher vying for baseball immortality. Josh Beckett did the same to the Phillies in May, but he only struck out six along the way. Still, the two give Los Angeles’ National League ballclub the only no-hitters of the 2014 season so far. They were numbers 11 and 12 for the team in its history, and the first since Hideo Nomo’s in 1996.

They might be related, too, if Kershaw has anything to say about it.

“I am so amazed,” Kershaw told reporters, according to FoxSports.com. “Beckett told me he was going to teach me how to do that, so I have Josh to thank.”

Kershaw struggled earlier in the season, but notched a shut-out last month in the same Philadelphia series that saw Beckett toss a no-no.

On Wednesday, Kershaw needed only slightly more than 100 pitches (107 to be exact) to get the job done. Beckett, meanwhile, threw about 20 more, so maybe his teammate did learn a few tricks to get the job done more efficiently.

One probably very unbiased observer — or more accurately, very biased in the opposite direction — agreed that it was a historically impressive performance.

“I’ve seen some great pitching performances, but it’s tough to be any better than Kershaw,” said Walt Weiss, manager of the Colorado club that fell victim to Kershaw’s devastation.

But as The Washington Post noted, perhaps even more impressive than the performance on the mound Wednesday night was Vin Scully’s in the broadcast booth. The legendary play-by-play man has called 19 no-hitters now in a career that dates back to the 1950s. In fact, according to the Post, Scully has called “seven percent of all no-hitters that have occurred in the 139 years that Major League Baseball has tracked these things.”

Major League Baseball even put together a highlight reel of Scully’s call:

It might not be as singularly iconic as Vin Scully’s voice (yet), but what do you think? Was Clayton Kershaw’s no-no “the best ever”?

photo: Malingering via photopin cc