He didn’t meet those grandiose expectations at first, but the 27-year-old finally emerged last season, winning a career-high 13 games — including the no-hitter.
“He’s grown up a lot,” Baker said. “That’s what you like to see out of a young player. If you stick with them long enough, you can see the fruits of their success.”
It was the 16th no-hitter in Cincinnati history. No Reds pitcher had thrown a no-no at home since Tom Browning’s 1-0 perfect game against the Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium on Sept. 16, 1988.
Bailey became the third pitcher in the history of baseball’s first professional franchise to get more than one. Johnny Vander Meer threw the only back-to-back no-hitters in major league history in 1938, beating the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers. Jim Maloney had a no-hitter at Wrigley Field in 1965 and one at home against Houston in 1969.
During spring training in Arizona this year, Votto — the 2010 National League MVP — set the bar even higher for Bailey.
“I was talking to Joey Votto during spring training and he said, ‘Can you throw another (no) hitter?’ I said, ‘Can you win another MVP?’” Bailey said. “He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘So can I.’
“I was joking.”