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Watch party: Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter at Coors Field

The 20th no-hitter in Dodgers history might be the most amazing

Braves v Dodgers

This evening will rewatch one of the most memorable pitching performances in Dodgers history, when Hideo Nomo pitched a no-hitter at the hitters paradise known as Coors Field.

“Hideo Nomo has done what they said could not be done,” Vin Scully called on the Dodgers’ broadcast.

Coors Field park factors

Year Park Factor Next highest*
Year Park Factor Next highest*
1995 128 105
1996 123 105
1997 123 105
1998 122 104
1999 127 104
2000 125 107
2001 122 108
*MLB rank Source: Baseball-Reference

This was the Rockies’ fourth year in Denver, but the second at Coors Field, an environment unlike any other in baseball history. The new park proved to be even more offensive-minded than Mile High Stadium, the home of the Broncos that the Rockies used for their first two years in existence. The park factor at Coors Field in 1996 was 123, meaning offense was boosted by 23 percent relative to the rest of the league thanks to the park itself.

Colorado’s park factor ranged from 122-128 for the first seven years at Coors Field, and though they’ve threatened at times the park factor hasn’t reached 120 in 19 years.

And the Rockies were good, especially as an expansion team. They made the playoffs in 1995 as a wild card, in just their third season, and headed into a mid-September series against the Dodgers having won eight straight games, and trailed LA by 5½ games in the NL West.

Todd Hollandsworth homered in the opener and Ismael Valdez went seven innings for a win, setting the pitching tone for the series.

Dodgers-Rockies lineups

Dodgers Rockies
Dodgers Rockies
Hollandsworth LF Young 2B
Kirby CF McCracken CF
Piazza C Burks LF
Karros 1B Bichette RF
Mondesi RF Galarraga 1B
Wallach 3B Castilla 3B
DeShields 2B Decker C
Gagne SS Perez SS
Nomo P Swift P
Box score

How hard was it to pitch a shutout in Denver? After six starts of at least nine innings with no runs allowed in two years at Mile High Stadium — including one by Pedro Astacio of the Dodgers — there were only 12 such games in those peak seven seasons when Coors Field was at its Coors Fieldiest.

Nomo was near the end of his second straight excellent season for the Dodgers, after leaving Japan. He was 15-10 with a 3.29 ERA entering this start at Coors on September 17, and his 216 strikeouts were second in the National League to John Smoltz, the eventual Cy Young Award winner.

In two previous starts at Coors Field, Nomo allowed 16 runs on 18 hits in 9⅔ innings, with five home runs allowed and 10 walks.

Let’s see how this one turns out.

Though the start of this game was delayed by rain for two hours, we’ll start watching right on time today at 5 p.m. PT, on YouTube.

Watch party details

  • What: Dodgers (Hideo Nomo) at Rockies (Bill Swift)
  • Where: Coors Field
  • When: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 1996
  • Box score
  • Watch: YouTube, 5 p.m. PT