Matt Cain pitched the first perfect game in San Francisco Giants history last night. His 14-strikeout performance was probably the most dominant this year. We saw a similar dominant performance 3,000 miles east, as R.A. Dickey stifled Tampa Bay by allowing only 1 hit (a questionable one), during a 9-1 victory that include 12 K’s of his own. Both these performances come after the Mariners combined to no-hit the Dodgers on Friday, and Johan Santana pitched a no-no against St. Louis, one of the best offensive teams in the league, two weeks ago. With the harsher penalties for PED use, are we seeing the no-hitter become less of a feat? Were the no-hitter thrown during the “steroid era” that much more impressive?
Tom Tango of Inside the Book broke down “baseball eras” earlier this week:
(The Pioneer Era), 1871-1892
(The Spitball Era), 1893-1919
(The Landis Era), 1920-1946
(The Baby Boomers Era), 1947-1968
(The Artificial Turf Era), 1969-1992
(The Camden Yards Era), 1993-2012
Tango rates the eras on runs shifts, home runs, BABIP and runs per game. Regardless of one’s system, Tango’s final result is pretty much how all of us would breakdown baseball history.
Back to the no-hitters. Here is a breakdown of complete game no-no’s (I took the combined versions out) since 1947. I picked ’47 since I wanted to do the evaluation post-integration.
1947-68 – (52)
1993-2012 – (42)
There is probably going to be some argument of when the “steroid era” started, but out of the 42 no-hitters since 1993, 16 have come since the Mitchell Report was released.
Anyone who looks at runs per game knows the insanity of scoring from 1998 onword. Only 4 no-hitters were thrown during that late 90s three-year period (98-2000), or the same amount of no-no’s this year.
I believe the no-hitters thrown between 1992-and 2007 are some of the most impressive feats. Yes, the pitchers could have been “enhanced,” but the combination of small ballparks, PEDs (especially amphetamines), gives me reason to believe the hitters benefited more. Remember, amphetamines were part of baseball since it’s inception, so it was an issue “pre-steroid era.”
With expansion watering down the talent pool, specialized relievers and travel putting a strain on amphetamine-less players, it’s probably easier to mow down a big league lineup than at any point in the game’s history.
Here is the list of every complete game no-hitter since 1947- discuss.
By: Michael J. Silva