One of the threads I’ve followed on this blog is the chronicling of perfect games and also a few no-hitters. It’s led to this summarizing of the number of no-hitters. First, here’s a graphic showing the year-by-year no-hit games from 1980 through 2010:
And, here’s a graphic charting the number of no-hitters in major league baseball by decade, from the 1880s through the 2000s.
There are a few things to note here: Johnny Vandermeer’s back-to-back no-hitters in 1938 are even more remarkable when you see that they were 2 of just 8 thrown in the entire hit-happy decade.
The 8 no-hitters in 1884 are the most in any one year, but the 7 in ’90 and again in ’91 are the most in back to back years.
When you consider the small number of teams in the 1910s (16, except for the two years the Federal League existed), the 29 no-hitters in that decade make it the one with the highest no-hit frequency.
The 31 no-hitters of the 1990s don’t jibe with all the offense in that decade: they also include four perfect games (Ron Hassey caught Dennis Martinez’s: he also caught Len Barker’s in 1981, making him the only catcher with two perfect games. (He also almost had at least one more, with Oakland in 1989.)
Jason Varitek’s four no-hitters caught in the 2000s are also a catchers’ record, and one that’s unlikely to be broken. As with Vandermeer, that feat is even more impressive when you see that only 11 other catchers caught one in the decade.
Here’s another bit of catchers’ no-hit trivia: 40 catchers have had at least two no-hitters, and 11 have caught 3 (although the 11 include Pinch Thomas, who was ejected before Ernie Shore came on in relief of Babe Ruth to pitch his no-hitter/psuedo-perfect game in 1917). So 40 catchers have caught 92 no-hitters, over a third of the 272 total as of mid-season 2011. And yet, Nolan Ryan threw his 7 no-hitters to 7 different catchers.
Finally, the 34 no-hitters in the 1960s top the 30 that happened in the three decades from 1920 through 1949.