The true magic of a no-hitter is about more than the achievement — as spectacular as that is.

It is about the journey, the back story, and how that elevates the achievement. Baseball — more than any other of our sports — comes with context, such is the rich written and oral history of the game.

So we recognize what Jim Abbott overcame physically to simply be pitching on Sept. 4, 1993. We had the dots connected from Oct. 8, 1956, to July 18, 1999, when David Cone perfect-gamed the Expos on a day that began with Don Larsen throwing the ceremonial first pitch to Yogi Berra on Berra's Day at Yankee Stadium. And we knew Dwight Gooden carried more than a baseball to the mound on May 14, 1996.

For me, Gooden's had been the no-hitter with the most angles, the greatest I-can't-believe-this-just-happened atmosphere.