Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stacked Odds

Last night, CC Sabathia took a no-hitter into the eighth inning with two outs. This means that he survived 85% of the feat which is one of the rarest accomplishments in baseball. There have been 281 no-hitters which may sound like a lot but in theory there are 2430 games per season in Major League Baseball since they added the Diamondbacks and Rays in the 90s. Even in the small amount of time since then, over 20,000 games have been played, and the National League was founded in 1876. Granted, the schedule has been added to since then because of the American League as well as other expansion teams as well as natural expansion. However, we can still assume that there have been over 100,000 games played in the history of baseball and only 281 of them were no-hitters. This equates to .3% of games being no-hitters if there were indeed only 100,000 games which I think is definitely under shooting. Let's think about what this tiny probability means. If there were 1000 marbles in a jar and you had to pick one, there would only be three marbles that you could choose that would turn into no-hitters. Those are crazy odds, and every player who has never thrown a no-hitter needs to make that same lucky grab from the marbles. So don't feel too bad CC; there are immense odds against throwing a no-hitter that proportionally very few pitchers have ever done.
Photo by Keith Allison on Flikr

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