The Detroit Tigers’ Jordan Zimmermann took an Opening Day perfect game bid into the seventh inning on Thursday, but Bob Feller’s reign as being the only MLB pitcher to toss a no-hitter to start the season remains safe another year.
Zimmermann tossed 6⅔ innings of perfect ball before the Toronto Blue Jays’ Teoscar Hernandez hit an infield single up the middle. The game was actually a double no-hitter through 5⅔, as the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman didn’t yield his first hit until there were two outs in the sixth, when Nicholas Castellanos singled to left. Detroit topped Toronto 2-0 in 10 innings.
The only other Opening Day starter to go deep without yielding a hit was the Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber, who no-hit the Minnesota Twins through 5⅓ before Byron Buxton doubled. The Twins won that game 2-0.
Feller threw MLB’s only Opening Day on April 16, 1940, using his “heater from Van Meter” fastball to mow down eight White Sox batters as the Cleveland Indians topped Chicago 1-0. Feller’s parents and sister, Marguerite, were among the 14,000 fans at Chicago’s Comiskey Park that afternoon.
Although there has been only one MLB Opening Day no-hitter, there was one thrown in the Negro National League in 1946. Leon Day, pitching for the Newark Eagles on Sunday, May 5, 1946, no-hit the Philadelphia Stars at Newark’s Ruppert Stadium for a 2-0 win. Day allowed just three runners to reach first via a pair of walks and an error, and he struck out six batters.