Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter for the New York Mets on Friday night, the first one in Mets history. The Mets have played 8,019 games since they came into existence in 1962.
Jim Pagels at Slate asks: how unlikely it is that the Mets would have suffered this? The conclusion, based on the fact that no-hitters occur every 1600 games or so: roughly one in a hundred. There are twenty teams that have been around for at least fifty years; so the chance that some team would have a fifty-year drought going are about twenty in one hundred, or one in five.
The Mets’ drought becomes a bit more surprising if you take into account, as Craig Glaser did coincidentally last week, that the Mets have historically had good pitching. A better model than Glaser’s would treat each season separately, predicting the number of no-hitters the Mets should have expected in each season — or even separate out each pitcher within those seasons — but that would be real work, and I’m not sure if it would cause an appreciable improvement.