No Hitters and Steroids

Last night Matt Cain threw a perfect game for the SF Giants.  Two weeks ago, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Met’s franchise history, dating back to 1962.  There are more no-hitters and perfect games being thrown in the last few seasons, since the crackdown on steroids.  This year, there have already been 10 no hitters or perfect games although six of them were combined.  In 2011 there were three no hitters and 2010 there were six no hitters or perfect games.  If we look back to the height of the “Steroid Years” beginning in the mid 1990’s these types of pitching performances were far less common.  Since 1995 the number of no hitters or perfect games were as follows; 1995-1, 1996-3, 1997-3, 1998-1, 1999-3, 2000-0, 2001-3, 2002-1.   When McGuire and Sosa had their record-breaking year in 1998, it was apparent they were at a different level though no one knew why, or wanted to know why, at the time.  Everyone was caught up in the race for who would break Maris’ HR record.  This was followed by Bonds breaking the home run record in 2001.  In fact, steroids ruined the game for a number of years and gave the hitters an unfair advantage.  Routine fly balls were leaving the stadium like they were on….steroids.  Six of the top 10 individual HR records occurred between 1998 and  2001.  Not coincidentally, it was shared by the steroid triplets, Sosa did it three times, McGuire twice and Bonds, once, when he set the record in 2001 with 73 HR.  All three should have their names removed from the record books, never mind an asterisk next to their names.  When baseball is clean, as it is today, you have great performances by pitchers.  And yet, there are still great hitters out there as there have always been.  But you are not going to see the offensive numbers that we saw during those years.  It may have been good for baseball with all of the added offense but it was ultimately bad for the game, because even people who love records, hate cheating.

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