Yes, as explained by the comments in the configuration file, the show_history_hits feature is only available if show_scores is enabled. It was due to a small technical constraint in the early days of the project.
There is no reason why it should remain like this anymore though so it will be changed in the next release to match your request.
I recently updated Keypirinha and saw that the history hits are not displayed anymore. How do I enable it again? If I use show_history_hits = yes in [gui] the console warns that this is deprecated. If I put it in the section of the currently selected theme, I still do not see the history hits again.
@kevin-stuartshow_history_hits has been removed in v2.14 in favor of the layout setting that is part of the theme feature. Sorry for the inconvenience. Do not hesitate to ask for help in the chat room if you need help with that.