No-Hitter vs Perfect Game: Difference and Comparison

Baseball is becoming increasingly popular every day. The sport is attracting audiences worldwide. This has resulted in a large number of newly acquired fans.

As a result, some of the terminologies of baseball are relatively unknown to modern audiences. These terms include no-hitter and a perfect game.

However, new fans are not the only ones unaware of these terms. Seasoned followers are also prone to misunderstanding them. 

Key Takeaways

  1. In a no-hitter, a pitcher prevents the opposing team from getting any hits but may allow walks or errors; in a perfect game, no opposing players reach base.
  2. Perfect games are rarer and more challenging to achieve than no-hitters.
  3. Both achievements are considered extraordinary feats in baseball and are celebrated by fans and players alike.

No-Hitter vs Perfect Game

A no-hitter occurs when a pitcher or a group of pitchers prevents the opposing team from getting a hit throughout the entire game, but it does not require that no player gets on base. A perfect game is a type of no-hitter, but it is more stringent. It occurs when a pitcher or a group of pitchers retires every batter in order, without allowing a single batter to reach base.

No Hitter vs Perfect Game

No-hitters occur when a team refuses to allow its opponent to hit any pitches. Although they are not scored by hitting, other means may be used to score runs. As long as the batters are prevented from making a safe hit, a no-hitter is preserved.

The pitchers of a perfect game not only prevent the opposing team from hitting any pitches, but also prevent the opposing team from reaching any bases, thus preventing the opponent from scoring any runs.

By any means, scoring a run annuls a perfect game. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNo-Hitter Perfect Game
DefinitionIn a no-hitter, the batters are prohibited from hitting any pitches during the entire game.  In a perfect game, the pitcher prohibits the batters from reaching the base as well as denying them a clean hit.
Runs scoredThere should be at least one run scored.There should be no runs scored.
Method of scoring runsOther than hitting, any method of scoring a run is allowed, such as base-on-balls, errors, hit batsmen, etc.Runs should never be scored by any method.
Win criteriaAn inning with no hits results in an automatic win for the team that pitched it.If a team pitches a perfect game, it does not mean the team automatically wins.
Difficulty A no-hitter innings is less difficult to achieve.A perfect game innings is more difficult to achieve. 

What is a No-Hitter?

When the pitcher gives no safe hits to the batsman, it is considered a no-hitter in baseball. Occasionally, it is also referred to as a no-hit game. Many fans refer to it informally as a no-no.

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Generally, a no-hitter refers to a game in which the batting team bats at least nine innings without making a hit. A pitcher who throws a no-hitter is said to have “thrown a no-hitter”.

Some no-hitters are thrown by more than one pitcher, but in most cases, a single pitcher completes the no-hitter. These are known as combined no-hitters.

No-hitters are difficult to achieve. Since 1876, only 314 no-hitters have been achieved in MLB history. The average number of no-hitters per year is almost two.

The last no-hitter was pitched by Tyler Gilbert on 14 August 2021. There were a total of nine no-hitters recorded during the 2021 season, the most in a single season. 

Pitchers prevent batters from making any hits during a no-hitter, but there are other ways to score for the team. Among the most common ways to score runs is to walk, commit an error, or get hit by a pitch.

Reaching base using any method other than hitting is allowed and can help the pitcher maintain his no-hitter.

no hitter

What is a Perfect Game?

A perfect game is one in which no batter makes it to base. To achieve a perfect game, no batter must reach base in any of the nine innings.

A perfect game is annulled if a batter reaches base after eight or even eight and a half innings. There should be a clean “27 up and 27 down”. By definition, a perfect game is a no-hitter. 

A perfect game is extremely difficult to complete. This is evidenced by the fact that the feat has only been accomplished 23 times in MLB history. Since 1901, only 21 perfect games have been played. The most recent was played on 15 August 2012. 

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Before 2020, achieving a perfect game meant winning and closing out the game. Nowadays, due to rule changes, a team that achieved a perfect game still needs to score a run to win.

Allowing a run in the extra innings invalidates a perfect game. A game that lasts less than nine innings can also never be considered a perfect game regardless of all other conditions. 

Main Difference Between No-Hitter and Perfect Game

  1. No-hitter games are in which batsmen are not allowed to make a safe hit, whereas perfect games are in which the batting team is not allowed to reach the base even once, i.e., not make a single run.
  2. The use of other means to score runs is permitted in a no-hitter, but not a single run should be scored in a perfect game.
  3. It is considered fair to score runs by means other than hitting in a no-hitter, but scoring runs by any means will invalidate a perfect game.
  4. While a team that pitches a no-hitter wins automatically, a team that plays a perfect game is not awarded the victory. They must score a single run to be declared victorious.
  5. It is easier to achieve a no-hitter than a perfect game.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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