The no-hitter is one of baseball’s rarer feats. Since the first no-hitter was thrown in the 1870’s, there have only been 278 more – or an average of about 2 per year. No-hitters are often thrown by great pitchers, and in fact, even some of baseball’s all-time greats have gone their entire career without throwing the much-heralded no-no.
But we’re not here to celebrate greatness. We’re here for funny names. And it turns out that two of baseball’s most improbable no-hitters were thrown by two great named guys – Bobo Holloman and Bumpus Jones.
Charles Leander “Bumpus” Jones was not a very good pitcher. However, despite having a career that spanned all of eight games, Bumpus hurled a no-hitter in his first major league appearance! Unbelievable. That incredible no-no awesomeness is matched only by Johnny Vander Meer’s insane feat of pitching no-hitters in back-to-back starts! But back to Bumpus. On October 15, 1892, the last day of the season, Bumpus bested the Cincinnati Reds, 7-1 (the one run scored on an error), giving up four walks. The next season, he appeared in seven games, going 1-4 with a 10.19 ERA. He would never pitch in the Majors again. He finished his short career with a 2-4 record, a 7.99 ERA, and 10 strikeouts.
Which brings us to Alva Lee “Bobo” Holloman. In terms of no-hitter awesomeness, Bobo is a complete and utter slacker compared to Bumpus. Bobo didn’t throw a no-no in his first Major League appearance. It took him until his second appearance – but first start – to get his no-no, beating the Philadelphia A’s on May 6, 1953. Like Bumpus, Bobo didn’t do much after that, pitching only 20 more games, compiling a career record of 3-7 with a 5.23 ERA and 25 strikeouts in his three-month career.
And there you have it – Bumpus and Bobo. Baseball’s most unlikely no-nos.