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Extra Inning

July 29, 1991

Undated (AP) _ What’s with all these no-hitters?

In all of the 1980s there were 15 no-hitters. So far in the ’90s, there already have been 14. There have been all sorts of no-hitters, too.

We’ve had combined no-hitters, rain-shortened no-hitters, losing no- hitters, perfect no-hitters and Nolan Ryan no-hitters. There’s even a debate going on as to just what qualifies as a no-hitter.

Montreal’s Mark Gardner pitched nine innings of no-hit ball against Los Angeles on Friday night before giving up a single to Lenny Harris leading off the 10th. After the game, the Elias Sports Bureau announced that according to their standards Gardner will not get credit for a no-hitter. He did get credit for the 1-0 loss, though.

Rather, Elias lists Gardner with 11 other pitchers who had nine no-hit innings and allowed a hit in extra innings. It’s sort of like being in no-hit limbo.

Among the group that Elias does not credit with a no-hitter or perfect game is Harvey Haddix. Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings for Pittsburgh against Milwaukee on May 26, 1959, until Joe Adcock’s double in the 13th scored the winning run.

Most baseball fans still think Haddix pitched a perfect game. Harvey probably thinks so, too.

Among the other pitchers Elias does not credit with a no-hitters are Bobo Newsom, Hippo Vaughn and Jim Maloney.

On June 14, 1965, Maloney pitched 10 no-hit innings against the New York Mets at Crosley Field before Johnny Lewis led off the 11th with a home run. Later in the season, just in case, Maloney pitched a 10-inning no-hitter to beat Houston 1-0. He pitched another no-hitter in 1969.

Read almost any bio on Maloney and it will say he pitched three no-hitters in his career, not two no-hitters and 10 innings of no-hit ball.

The Sporting News record book and the most recent edition of The Baseball Encyclopedia differ from Elias. They list Haddix with the other pitchers who have tossed perfect games and count Maloney’s 10-inning gem against the Mets as a no-hitter.

When The Sporting News book comes out in 1992, Gardner’s name will be among those who pitched no-hitters with a notation that Harris led off the 10th with a single.

The Sporting News book is used as a source for records by the media directors of all 26 major league clubs and the source for records during the World Series and playoffs.

Gardner will also be listed among those with no-hitters in the next edition of the encyclopedia. The book now touts itself as Major League Baseball’s ″one and only official record of the game and its players.″ It even has the MLB endorsement and licensing logo.

That would seem to indicate baseball thinks Gardner pitched a no-hitter, right?

Until recently, the Elias Book of Baseball Records also listed guys like Maloney and Haddix with everybody else who pitched a no-hitter. But while Elias is the official statisticians for baseball, the company is not the official record keeper.

The official scorer for the Montreal-Los Angeles game Friday night, after the Dodgers checked with the people at Elias, ruled Gardner would not be credited with a no-hitter.

But since there is no rule as to what qualifies as a no-hitter, The Sporting News, baseball encyclopedia and major news organizations are free to make their own judgment. Rich Levin, a spokesman for the commissioner’s office, said the committee for statistical accuracy probably will meet in September to review the situation.

ESPN, for example, reported Gardner would not get credit for the no-hitter based on what Elias said. Yet, after Dennis Martinez pitched his gem against Los Angeles on Sunday, they said it was the 15th perfect game in major league history. Counted among those 15, of course, is the Haddix game.

Bill Shannon, a frequent official scorer at Mets and Yankee games, said he would have credited Gardner with a no-hitter.

Baseball, a game so steeped in its records, needs to make a decision sooner or later on what is a no-hitter. It can’t be both ways.

After Friday’s game, Gardner was told by reporters he would not be credited with a no-hitter. He was told he would be credited with throwing nine no-hit innings. But Gardner already knew that.

When Haddix woke up Saturday, he probably thought of himself as one of the pitchers who has tossed a no-hitter. Since The Sporting News and encyclopedia will list Gardner as pitching a no-hitter it might be nice if someone told him he did, too.

If Gardner didn’t pitch a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, then maybe one of the stat guys at Elias should call Harvey Haddix and Jim Maloney with the bad news.

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