On Sept. 2, 1972, Milt Pappas should have completed a perfect game against the Padres at Wrigley Field.
Instead, his full-count pitch to pinch hitter Larry Stahl with 2 out in the ninth inning was called a ball, so when the next batter popped up a 1-1 delivery, Pappas had to settle for a no-hitter.
It was the Cubs' second no-hitter of the year. Burt Hooton had held the visiting Phillies hitless (while walking 7) on April 16.
It was their fourth no-hitter in less than 3 years, as Ken Holtzman had turned the trick at home against the Braves in 1969 and at Cincinnati in 1971.
After Pappas' gem, 36 years passed before the Cubs' next no-hitter, by Carlos Zambrano, on Sept. 14, 2008, against the Astros, in a game relocated from Houston to Milwaukee because of hurricane damage in Texas.
The Cubs have had 4 more no-hitters since then: by Jake Arrieta, against the Dodgers in 2015 and the Reds in 2016; by Alec Mills, against the Brewers in 2020; and by Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel, against the Dodgers in 2021.
All of the post-Pappas no-hitters have come on the road.
The Cubs' final home game of 2022, an 8-1 romp over the Reds on Oct. 2, was their 3,966th in a row at Wrigley Field without pitching another no-hitter.
MOVING ON UP
That is the 10th-longest such streak in Major League Baseball's Modern Era, which began in 1901.
It will become No. 9 if the Cubs don't no-hit any of their guests through their 44th home game of the upcoming season, scheduled to be played on Saturday, July 1, vs. the Guardians.
The Mets went 4,009 games between no-hitters at home, from April 13, 1962, the first home game in their history, through May 30, 2012.
The next day, Johan Santana no-hit the Cardinals. That also was the first no-hitter in franchise history, after 8,019 games.
The all-time record for games without a no-hitter at home is 6,906, by the Phillies, from their first of the Modern Era, on April 18, 1901, through Aug. 14, 1990.
Terry Mulholland ended the streak the next day against the Giants. During his 20-year career, he pitched for 11 teams, including 121 games for the Cubs, 47 of them starts, in 1997-99.
The Phillies' streak is a whopping 1,533 games longer -- almost 29 percent -- than the 5,373 by the runnerup Pirates, from 1907 through 1976.
And the Pirates' streak is a substantial 994 games -- nearly 23 percent -- longer than the fourth-longest run of 4,379 games by the Tigers, from 1952 through 2007.
The next 3 longest streaks all are active: 4,265 (Padres), 4,255 (Brewers) and 4,183 (Orioles). They ranks fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively. The Cardinals are sixth, at 4,208 games, between 1924 and 1978.
No. 8 is the Cubs, who went 4,168 games without a no-hitter, starting in their home opener on April 26, 1901, and ending on May 11, 1955, the day before Sam Jones walked 7 Pirates but gave up no hits.
The active streak makes the Cubs the only team to appear in the top 10 twice.
TOP 10 STREAKS
Here is the top 10, ranked by number of games:
6,906: Phillies, 1901-90
5,373: Pirates, 1907-76
4,379: Tigers, 1962-2007
4,265: Padres, 1969-2022
4,255: Brewers, 1969-2022
4,208: Cardinals, 1924-78
4,183: Orioles, 1969-2022
4,168: Cubs, 1901-55
4,009: Mets, 1962-2012
3,966: Cubs, 1972-2022
The streaks by the Padres and Brewers cover all home games since their first. The Brewers' first 81 came during their lone season as the Seattle Pilots.
The Padres did not have a no-hitter anywhere until Joe Musgrove shut down the Rangers on April 9, 2021.
The Brewers have had 2 on the road, by Juan Nieves at Baltimore in 1987 and by Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader at Cleveland on Sept. 11, 2021.
LOT OF ACTIVITY
The 11th-longest streak also is active: 3,607 games, by the Blue Jays, going back to their first home game in 1977.
Then come the Guardians, with an active streak of 3,273.
Four more streaks have reached 3,000 games: 3,103 (White Sox), 3,081 (Cardinals), 3,055 (Tigers) and 3,001 (Red Sox).
The Cardinals' streak is current, too.
So, of 16 streaks that lasted 3,000 or more games, 7 are ongoing: those by the Blue Jays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Guardians, Orioles and Padres.
There have been 65 streaks of at least 1,000 games, of which 17 are active. The 10 active streaks of fewer than 3,000 games:
1,142: Reds Sox
LONGEST BY EACH TEAM
(In alphabetical order by current nickname)
Blue Jays: 3,607 (active)
Brewers: 4,256 (active)
Guardians: 3,273 (active)
Nationals: 2,654 (began as Expos)
Orioles: 4,183 (active)
Padres: 4,265 (active)
Rangers: 2,399 (began as Senators II)
Red Sox: 3,001
Rockies: 2,347 (active)
Royals: 2,438 (active)
Twins: 2,406 (began as Senators I)
White Sox: 3,103
The fewest games among the longest streaks is the Marlins' 854. That is the only such streak of fewer than 1,000 games, as the Rays are next, with 1,016.
7 teams never have gone more than 1,766 games without pitching a no-hitter at home.
The shortest span ever: 1 game, by the St. Louis Browns, who no-hit the White Sox on Saturday, May 6, 1917, then did it again in Game 2 of a doubleheader the next day.
The Braves went 9 games between no-hitters at home in 1960-61; Cleveland, 10, in 1908; and the Braves, 12, in 1960.
The Braves' streaks were back to back: Aug. 19-Sept. 15, 1960, then Sept. 17, 1960-April 13, 1961.
26 teams have gone no more than 100 games between no-hitters at home, including the Cubs, as 59 games separated the gems by Hooton and Pappas in 1972.
ALL OF CUBS' STREAKS
4,168: April 26, 1901-May 11, 1955
3,966: Sept. 3, 1972-Oct. 2, 2022 (active)
747: May 27, 1960-Aug. 3, 1969
394: May 14, 1955-May 15, 1960
185: Aug. 20, 1969-April 15, 1972
59: April 28, 1972-Sept. 1, 1972