Programming note: Get your DVRs ready, we’re re-airing Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter tonight at 7:30 p.m. and at midnight, and again Thursday at 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
You may argue about the end-game for Tim Lincecum, and many have, but his no-hitter Wednesday against the historically inept San Diego Padres puts him into a considerably rarefied group.
So let’s just say it – how about a contract extension?
Lincecum’s stunningly easy performance – 113 pitches, no difficult defensive plays in a 4-0 win – makes him the 29th pitcher in major league history to throw multiple no-hitters, and only one of the other 28 has a losing career record.
Indeed, most of the other 28 have something significant of note to throw into the history of the sport, from Nolan Ryan, who threw seven of them, to Homer Bailey, who was the last one to do it all the way back in 2013.
Bailey, Lincecum, Justin Verlander and Mark Buehrle are the only three of the 29 who are still active, so the others have a settled legacy.
- Nolan Ryan (7): More than any other, and the defining power pitcher of his era.
- Sandy Koufax (4): Hall of Famer so good that his career as an elite pitcher was barely five years.
- Bob Feller (3): Hall of Famer who split his career with World War II.
- Larry Corcoran (3): Pitched in the ’80 – the 1880s --- but still won twice as many games as he lost, and had a career WHIP of 1.10.
- Cy Young (3): The award was not named for a different Cy Young. This was the one.
- Jim Bunning: Hall of Famer, and a Republican senator.
- Steve Busby: Elite pitcher with the best of the Kansas City teams of the ‘70s.
- Buehrle: Still on the job.
- Carl Erskine: Part of the excellent Brooklyn rotation of the 1950s.
- Allie Reynolds: Star with the Yankees. His career is currently comparable to Adam Wainwright’s.
- Warren Spahn: Hall of Famer.
- Bill Stoneman: Only one of the 27 with a losing record, but he did get to be a general manager.
- Bob Forsch: Sacramento native with a solid 15-year career in St. Louis.
- Pud Galvin: Another 1880s special, also in the Hall of Fame.
- Ken Holtzman: Former A and Cub, a difficult combo to overcome.
- Randy Johnson: Hall of Famer.
- Addie Joss: Hall of Famer, and the only other pitcher to get two no-hitters against the same team.
- Dutch Leonard: Went to St. Mary’s, won games in 1915 and ’16 World Series.
- Jim Maloney: Ace on several Cincinnati teams in the ‘60s.
- Christy Mathewson: His number hangs at the ballpark.
- Hideo Nomo: One of first and best of the Japanese pitching imports.
Frank Smith: Two in the ‘Oughts. Also, his nickname was Piano Mover.
- Virgil Trucks: 17 years in the bigs, even had a winning record with the Browns in their final season in St. Louis.
- Johnny Vander Meer: Only pitcher to throw back0-to-back no-hitters.
Justin Verlander: Hall of Fame track. (although he is 6-7 with a 4.82 ERA this year)
- Don Wilson: Stud with powerful Astros rotation in the ‘60s.
- Roy Halladay: Just retired after what is likely a Hall of Fame career.
- Homer Bailey: Already covered.
How this affects Lincecum’s legacy is one of those fool’s questions, since he is still pitching, but this much is sure: Anyone in this town who wanted to turn on him is now silenced. He has earned a hall pass from the fan base, even on those days when he is getting lit up. Sure, he may still be fast-tracked for a postseason bullpen spot, and people may still grouse about his inconsistency and his struggles with command, but he is still one of 29. Ever. Beat that with a stick . . .
. . . which is more than the Padres could Wednesday.