Glaser: How statistically improbable is the Mets’ no no-hitter streak?

Editor’s note: This article was written just two days before the Mets’ Johan Santana threw a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 1, the first no-hitter for the franchise in its 8,019-game history.

From SABR member Craig Glaser at Baseball Prospectus on May 29, 2012:

I’ve heard that you see something new in every game of baseball you watch. I’m not sure I would go quite that far, but the long season allows for incredibly rare peaks to go along with the typical valleys. No-hitters are one such sort of peak and, while they often say more about the length of the season and the probabilities involved than the skill of the pitcher, it’s always fun to see the pitchers who are good and lucky enough to achieve one get their moment in the sun. 

On April 3, 2012, Mets starter Jon Niese completed six innings against the Atlanta Braves without giving up a hit. No Met has ever thrown a no-hitter in the franchise’s 50-year history, and Mets fans have always been eager to see one. Niese gave them hope. I may have been the only Mets fan in the world with mixed feelings about it.

A few weeks before Niese’s outing, I was asked to take part in The 50th Anniversary of the New York Met Conference held at my Alma Mater, Hofstra University.  As part of my panel (titled “By The Numbers: Statistics and Analytics”) I was asked to prepare a 5-10 minute presentation on a topic of my choosing. I decided to examine just how unlikely it is that the Mets have never thrown a no-hitter. I had started doing my research, and everything was coming together nicely.

While I had always rooted hard for a Mets no-hitter before, I now had a selfish reason to hope that it didn’t happen in the first month of the season. I knew that my research would be more pertinent and more fun to present if the no no-hitter streak was still intact. So it was with a combination of relief and sadness that I watched Freddie Freeman record a hit in the seventh. I figured that Mets fans could wait another month, and that I’d be able to enjoy the eventual no-hitter more fully after giving my presentation.

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Originally published: May 29, 2012. Last Updated: May 29, 2012.