- Perfect game
A perfect game is defined by
Major League Baseballas a game in which a pitcher(or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. [cite web|url=http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/about_mlb/rules_regulations.jsp|title=MLB Miscellany: Rules, Regulations and Statistics|publisher=Major League Baseball|accessdate=2007-08-20] Thus, the pitcher (or pitchers) cannot allow any hits, walks, hit batsmen, or any opposing player to reach base safely for any other reason—in short, "27 up, 27 down." The feat has been achieved only 17 times in major league history.
By definition, a perfect game must be both a
no-hitterand a shutout. Since the pitcher cannot control whether or not his teammates commit any errors, the pitcher must be backed up by solid fielding to pitch a perfect game. An error that does not allow a baserunner, such as a misplayed foul ball, does not spoil a perfect game. Weather-shortened contests in which a team has no baserunners and games in which a team reaches first base only in extra inningsdo not qualify as official under the present definition.
The first confirmed use of the term "perfect game" was in by|1908; the current official definition of the term was formalized in by|1991. Although it is possible for multiple pitchers to combine for a perfect game (as has happened nine times at the major league level for a no-hitter), to date every major league perfect game has been a complete game by just a single pitcher. [cite web|url=http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/rare_feats/index.jsp?feature=no_hitter|title=History: No-hitters|publisher=Major League Baseball|accessdate=2007-08-22]
Over the past 132 years of Major League Baseball history, there have been only 17 official perfect games by the current definition (approximately one every eight years). In sum, a perfect game occurs once in about every 11,000 major league contests. [Holtzman (2003), writing in June 2003, before Johnson's perfect game, references Buckley (2002), although there are at least two arithmetic errors. It is unclear where the dividing line is between Buckley's facts and Holtzman's conclusions, but regardless of that, the numbers do not work out. The total number of games sits at 381,856 as of
August 26, 2007, [http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/] which squares with an estimate of about 360,000 in 2002. Each game is a "paired" contest, so the total number of games actually played is half that number, or about 180,000 as of 2002. It appears that the author corrected that one figure but failed to correct the arithmetic otherwise. 180,000 divided by 16 is more like 11,000 than 22,000. He also got the percent wrong. 1 divided by 22,000 is .0000454, or .00005 rounded. However, expressed as percent ("per hundred"), it's .005, not .00005. Correcting the error otherwise, 1 in 11,000 is more like .009 percent. The full quote in the cited article is: "According to James Buckley, Jr., perfect games occur once every seven to eight seasons. Buckley's "Perfect", published last year, is an analysis of the 16 perfectos and also includes perfect games broken up with two outs in the ninth inning. Buckley estimates that since the birth of the National League in by|1876, there have been about 180,000 games. A perfecto surfaces once in approximately 22,000 games or .00005 percent. Don Larsen of the by|1956 Yankees authored the only perfect World Series game."] For comparison, more people have orbited the moon than have pitched a Major League Baseball perfect game. No pitcher has ever thrown more than one.
The first two major league perfect games, and the only two of the premodern era, were thrown in 1880, five days apart. The first to accomplish the feat was
John Lee Richmond, a left-handed pitcher for the Worcester Worcesters. Richmond would finish his career with a losing record. The second perfect game was thrown by John Montgomery Wardfor the Providence Grays. Ward went on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but more for his accomplishments as a position playerthan as a pitcher.
Most of the 15 modern-era players to have thrown perfect games were accomplished major league pitchers. Five are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame:
Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, and Catfish Hunter. A sixth, Randy Johnson, is a five-time Cy Young Awardwinner considered certain to be voted into the Hall of Fame when eligible. David Conealso has a Cy Young Award to his name and three other perfect-game throwers, Dennis Martínez, Kenny Rogers, and David Wells, each won over 200 major league games.
For several, the perfect game was the highlight of an otherwise unremarkable career.
Mike Wittand Tom Browningwere solid major league pitchers; each finished in the top ten in Cy Young voting once. Charlie Robertson, Don Larsen, and Len Barkerwere journeyman pitchers; each finished his major-league career with a losing record.
Major League Baseball perfect games
*Richmond's perfect game featured an unusual 9-3 putout, with Worcester right fielder
Lon Knightthrowing out Cleveland's Bill Phillips at first. [cite web|author=Akin, William|url=http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&bid=461&pid=11193|title=Bill Phillips|publisher=SABR Baseball Biography Project|date=2003|accessdate=2007-08-20] According to some accounts, Richmond hurled his historic perfecto after staying up all night following a pregraduation dinner at Brown University, pitching in an early morning class game, and taking a train to Worcester just in time to perform his professional duties. [Okrent and Wulf (1989), pp. 14–15. The [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Lee_Richmond_1857&page=chronology BaseballLibrary.com entry on Richmond] claims that a similar sequence of events preceded not his perfect game, but a game he pitched against the Chicago White Stockings on June 16.]
*Ward threw his perfect game at the Grays' park in Providence, but Buffalo, by virtue of a coin toss, was officially the "home" team, batting in the bottom of each inning.
*Young's perfect game was part of a hitless innings streak (24 1/3 straight innings without a hit, which is still a record) and a scoreless innings streak (45 straight innings without a run, which was then a record).
*Joss's was the most pressure-packed of any regular-season perfect game. With just four games left on their schedule, the Naps were locked in a tight three-way pennant race with the Tigers and the White Sox, that day's opponents. Joss's counterpart, the great
Ed Walsh, struck out 15 and gave up just four scattered singles. The lone, unearned run scored as a result of a botched pickoff play and a wild pitch. [Anderson (2000), pp. 185–186. [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/chronology/byyear.php?year=1908&previous=yes#October BaseballLibrary.com] claims it was a passed ball.] The Naps ended the day tied with the Tigers for first, with the White Sox two games back; the Tigers would ultimately win the league by a half game over the Naps.
*Robertson's perfect game was only his fifth appearance, and fourth start, in the big leagues. He finished his career with the fewest wins and lowest winning percentage (49–80, .380) of any perfect-game pitcher. In terms of the opposing team's ability to get on base, this is statistically the most unlikely of perfectos: the 1922 Tigers had an OBP of .369. [See Coffey (2004), p. 43, for an analysis of Detroit's relatively desultory hitting at the point in the season when the game was played.]
*Larsen, working in an unusual style, without a windup, pitched the first and only post-season perfect game (also the only post-season no-hitter) in game 5 of the
1956 World Series. The Dodgers had the highest season winning percentage of any team ever to surrender a perfect game: .604.
*Koufax's perfect game was the first one pitched at night. Cubs pitcher
Bob Hendleygave up only one hit—a bloop double to left-fielder Lou Johnsonin the seventh inning that did not figure in the scoring. The Dodgers scored their only run in the fifth inning: Lou Johnson reached first on a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, attempted a steal of third, and scored when Cubs catcher Chris Krugoverthrew third base. The combined hit total for both teams—1—is the major league record for the fewest in a perfect game. Concidentally, through the 2007 season, Koufax's perfecto is the last time the Cubs have been the victims of a no-hitter.
*Hunter, a talented batter, was also the hitting star of his perfect game. He went 3 for 4 with a double and 3 RBIs, including a bunt single that drove home the first and thus winning run in the seventh inning—easily the best offensive performance ever by a perfect game hurler.
*Witt's perfect game came on the last day of the 1984 season.
*Browning's perfect game came against the team that eventually won that year's World Series, the only time that has happened.
*Martínez, born in
Granada, Nicaragua, is the only major league pitcher born outside of the United States to throw a perfect game. Opposing pitcher Mike Morganwas perfect through five full innings, the latest the opposing starter in a perfect game has remained perfect. Two days earlier, Expos pitcher Mark Gardner no-hit the Dodgers through nine innings but lost the no-hitter in the 10th, meaning the Expos narrowly missed throwing a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same series.
*Rogers' perfect game against the
California Angelscame 10 seasons after Witt's perfect game against the Texas Rangers. The Angels and Rangers are the only major league teams to have perfect games pitched for them against each other.
*Wells attended the same high school as Larsen:
Point Loma High School, San Diego, California. They also both enjoyed the night life. Casey Stengelonce said of Larsen, "The only thing he fears is sleep." Wells has claimed to have been "half-drunk" and suffering from a "raging, skull-rattling hangover" during his perfect game. [cite web|url=http://espn.go.com/mlb/news/2003/0227/1515302.html|title=Wells Claims "25 to 40 Percent" of Players Use Steroids|publisher=ESPN/Associated Press|date= 2003-02-27|accessdate=2007-08-20] Wells's perfect game comprised the core of a streak, running from May 12, 1998, to May 23, 1998, of 38 consecutive retired batters, an American League record he held until 2007.
*Cone's perfect game was held on
Yogi BerraDay with the original battery of the 1956 World Series perfect game in attendance. Don Larsen, the pitcher of the 1956 game, threw out the first pitch to Berra, who had been his catcher during the series. Cone's and Larsen's perfect games are also the only ones pitched in interleague games. Cone's perfect game was also interrupted by a 33-minute rain delay.
*Johnson threw his perfect game at the age of age in years and days|1963|9|10|2004|5|18, becoming, by more than three-and-a-half years, the oldest pitcher to achieve the feat. The former holder of the mark, Cy Young, threw his at the age of age in years and days|1867|3|29|1904|5|5. Of the 17 teams to have a perfecto thrown against them, the 2004 Braves had the second-highest OBP (.343) and second-highest winning percentage (.593). In contrast, the Diamondbacks had by far the worst season winning percentage (.315) of any team to benefit from a perfect game.General notes
*In at least two perfect games—Barker's and Cone's—no player on the losing team worked even a three-ball count. In Larsen's game, just one Dodgers batter (
Pee Wee Reese, in the first inning) worked a three-ball count.
*Aside from Hunter, only two perfect-game pitchers had RBIs: Bunning (2) and Young (1). None but Hunter had more than one hit: Bunning had a double; Richmond, Ward, and Martínez had singles. No pitcher has ever scored a run during his perfect game. Barker, Witt, Rogers, Wells, and Cone did not bat in their perfect games, as the American League adopted the
designated hitterrule in 1973.
*The latest the winning runs have been scored in a perfect game is the seventh inning—this occurred in the games of Hunter (bottom), Witt (top), and Martínez (top).
*In the games of Richmond, Joss, Koufax, Witt, and Browning the solitary, winning run was unearned. Both runs scored by the Expos in Martínez's game were unearned.
*No first-year player has ever pitched a perfect game. Richmond and Robertson were classified as rookies, but were second-year players; each had made a single appearance in a previous season.
*Two of the three most recent perfect-game pitchers—Wells and Johnson—were traded at the end of the seasons in which they accomplished the feat. Both later returned to the teams from which they were traded away.
*No pitcher has ever thrown two MLB perfect games, but catcher Ron Hassey caught two: Barker's and Martínez's. Shortstop
Alfredo Griffinplayed for the losing team in the perfect games of Barker, Browning, and Martínez. Right fielder Paul O'Neill played for the winning team in the perfect games of Browning, Wells, and Cone. Don Zimmerwas in uniform for all three of the Yankees' perfect games, albeit on the losing side in the first.
*Five perfect-game pitchers have also thrown at least one additional no-hitter: Young, Joss, Bunning, Koufax, and Johnson. Koufax has the most total no-hitters of any perfect-game pitcher with four.
*The shortest period between modern-day perfect games was 1 year, 2 months, 1 day, between the perfect games by Wells and Cone. They also represent the only time two successive perfect games have been thrown by the same team, the New York Yankees.
*The longest period between perfect games was 34 years, 5 months, 8 days, between the perfect games by Robertson and Larsen. The longest between two regular-season perfect games was 42 years, 1 month, 21 days, between Robertson and Bunning.
*Yankees pitchers have thrown three perfect games (Larsen, Wells, and Cone), the most of any franchise. The only other franchise that has thrown more than one perfect game in its history is the Cleveland Indians (Joss and Barker).
*The Dodgers have had three perfect games pitched against them (Larsen, Browning, and Martínez), the most of any franchise. The only other team on the losing side of more than one perfect game is the Twins (Hunter and Wells).
*Although by the latter part of the 20th century, major league games were being played predominantly at night, four of the last seven perfect games have taken place in the daytime.
Origin of term
The term "perfect game" is at least as old as 1908. I. E. Sanborn's report for the "
Chicago Tribune" about Joss's performance against the White Sox calls it, "an absolutely perfect game, without run, without hit, and without letting an opponent reach first base by hook or crook, on hit, walk, or error, in nine innings." [Deutsch et al. (1975), p. 68. This source also includes an 1880 clipping from the "New York Herald" describing John Richmond's perfect game for Worcester as "the most wonderful game on record." A double error by Cleveland resulted in the lone run scoring, and the writer described it as "the only lapse from perfect play made by the Clevelands during the game"; the use of the word "perfect" in this context refers only to defensive play, a different meaning than its modern baseball sense, as Cleveland's pitcher also surrendered three hits and a walk. See Deutsch et al. (1975), p. 14. Writeups for the Ward perfect game of 1880 and the Young game of 1904 describe the games as "wonderful" and other effusive terms, but do not use the term "perfect game".]
Several sources have claimed (erroneously) that the first recorded usage of the term "perfect game" was by Ernest J. Lanigan in his "Baseball Cyclopedia", made in reference to Robertson's 1922 game. [Buckley (2002), p. 16, citing Paul Dickson, "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary" (1989); Coffey (2004), p. 50. The "Baseball Cyclopedia" reference came in a supplement to the 1922 edition of the book (a publication of "Baseball Magazine") and was worded thus: "Charles Robertson of Chicago Americans pitched an absolutely perfect no-hit game against Detroit on April 30, 1922, no one reaching first." The publication listed all the perfect games to that point (a total of five, including Robertson's) and used the term "perfect game" matter-of-factly, possibly indicating the term was already familiar to the readership. Lanigan's work references a 1914 book called "Balldom" as a source for his list of perfect games, although "Balldom" itself does not use the term "perfect game", merely characterizing the games as "no batter reached first base." Lanigan was also familiar with Sanborn's baseball articles, making various references to him elsewhere in the "Cyclopedia", although there is nothing indicating that Sanborn necessarily inspired Lanigan's use of the term. ]
Questions of definition
Richmond and Ward threw their perfect games early in the history of major league play, when the rules were substantially different from those applying to the other official perfect games. Some of those rule differences favored the batter, while some favored the pitcher. In 1880, when both premodern perfect games occurred, pitches were thrown underhand (the pitcher's hand could not rise above his belt); there was no pitching mound (the pitcher threw from flat ground); few fielders used gloves (resulting in many more errors than in the modern game); and batters could call for a high or low pitch. However, the front line of the rectangular "pitcher's box" was 45 feet from home plate (a release point about 8 feet closer than today); eight balls were required for a walk; and hitters were not awarded first when hit by a pitch.
Though convention has it that the modern era of Major League Baseball begins in 1900, the essential rules of the modern game were all in place by the 1893 season. That year the pitching distance was moved back to 60 feet, 6 inches, where it remains, and the pitcher's box was replaced by a rubber slab against which the pitcher was required to place his rear foot. Two other crucial rules changes had been made in recent years: In 1888, the rule awarding a hit batsman first base was instituted. In 1889, the number of balls required for a walk was reduced to four. [cite web|url=http://www.baseballlibrary.com/excerpts/rules1.php|title=Baseball Rules Chronology 1845–1899|publisher=BaseballLibrary.com|accessdate=2007-08-20] Thus, from 1893 on, pitchers sought perfection in a game whose most important rules are the same as today, with one significant exception. That exception, the use of the
designated hitterin American Leaguegames since the 1973 season, might have been expected to make perfect games more difficult to achieve in the AL. In fact, since 1973, five perfect games have been thrown with the DH rule in effect (including one interleague game held at an American League park) and only three without it.
The current official MLB definition of a perfect game is largely a side effect of the decision made by the major leagues' Committee for Statistical Accuracy on
September 4, 1991, to redefine a no-hitter as a game in which the pitcher or pitchers on one team throw a complete game of nine innings or more without surrendering a hit. That decision removed a number of games that had long appeared in the record books: those lasting fewer than nine innings, and those in which a team went hitless in regulation but then got a hit in extra innings. The definition of perfect game was made to parallel this new definition of the no-hitter, in effect substituting "baserunner" for "hit". The previous MLB definition of a perfect game had not made allowance for extra-inning flaws, so the game described below in which Harvey Haddix threw 12 perfect innings before allowing a baserunner in the 13th was never officially "perfect". The 1991 redefinition did remove the credit he had once received for throwing a no-hitter in the game.
Unofficial perfect games
There have been three instances in which a major league pitcher retired every player he faced over nine innings without allowing a baserunner, but, by the current definition, is not credited with a perfect game, either because he did not pitch a complete game victory, or because the game went into extra innings and an opposing player eventually reached base:
June 23, 1917, Babe Ruth, then a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, walked the Washington Senators' first batter, Ray Morgan, on four straight pitches. Ruth, who had already been shouting at umpire Brick Owensabout the quality of his calls, became even angrier and, in short order, was ejected. Enraged, Ruth charged Owens, swung at him, and had to be led off the field by a policeman. Ernie Shorecame in to replace Ruth. Morgan was caught stealing by Sox catcher Pinch Thomason the first pitch by Shore, who proceeded to retire the next 26 batters. All 27 outs were made while Shore was on the mound. Once recognized as a perfect game by Major League Baseball, this still counts as a combined no-hitter.
May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddixof the Pittsburgh Piratescarried a perfect game through an unprecedented 12 innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to have it ruined when an error by third baseman Don Hoakallowed Felix Mantilla, the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 13th inning, to reach base. A sacrifice by Eddie Matthewsand an intentional walk to Hank Aaronfollowed; the next batter, Joe Adcock, hit a home run that became a double when he passed Aaron on the bases. Haddix, and the Pirates, had lost the game 1-0. This is seen as one of the most agonizing of all baseball defeats, especially as the Pirates had 12 hits in the game but could not bring a run home. The 12 perfect innings—36 consecutive batters retired in a single game—remains a record. [ [http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1959/B05260MLN1959.htm Boxscore—Game Played on Tuesday, May 26, 1959 (N) at County Stadium] Retrosheet. Retrieved on July 21, 2008.]
June 3, 1995, Pedro Martínezof the Montreal Exposhad a perfect game through nine innings against the San Diego Padres. The Expos scored a run in the top of the tenth inning, but in the bottom, Martínez gave up a leadoff double to Bip Roberts, and was relieved by Mel Rojas, who retired the next three batters. Martínez was therefore the winning pitcher in a 1-0 Expos victory.
Four other "perfect games" are unofficial because the games were called off before nine innings were played:
August 11, 1907, Ed Kargerof the St. Louis Cardinalspitched seven perfect innings against the Boston Braves; second game of doubleheader called by prior agreement. [Ralph (2004).]
October 5, 1907, Rube Vickersof the Philadelphia Athletics pitched five perfect innings against the Senators; second game of doubleheader called on account of darkness. Vickers achieved his feat on the last day of the season. Remarkably, he also pitched the final 12 innings of the 15-inning first game. His back-to-back victories were his only wins of the year.
August 6, 1967, Dean Chanceof the Minnesota Twinspitched five perfect innings against the Red Sox; game called on account of rain.
April 21, 1984, David Palmer of the Expos pitched five perfect innings against the Cardinals; second game of doubleheader called on account of rain.
March 14, 2000, in a spring traininggame—by definition unofficial—the Red Sox used six pitchers to retire all 27 Toronto Blue Jaysbatters in a 5-0 victory. [Play-by-play available [http://www.1918redsox.com/pedro/perfect.htm online] .] The starting pitcher for the Red Sox was Pedro Martínez, who lost a perfect game in extra innings in 1995 (see above).
Perfect games lost to the 27th batter
On nine occasions in Major League Baseball history, a perfect game has been spoiled when the batter representing what would have been the third and final out in the ninth inning reached base. Unless otherwise noted, the pitcher in question finished and won the game without allowing any more baserunners: [Note that Coffey (2004) gives incorrect years for the near-perfect games of Wiltse, Stieb, Holman, and Mussina (p. 279).]
July 4, by|1908, Hooks Wiltseof the New York Giants hit Philadelphia Philliespitcher George McQuillanin a scoreless game—the only time a 0-0 perfecto has been broken up by the 27th batter. Wiltse pitched on, winning 1-0; his ten-inning no-hitter set a record for longest complete game no-hitter that has been tied twice but never broken. [cite web|url=http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_noh1.shtml|title=No Hitter Records|publisher=Baseball Almanac|accessdate=2007-08-20]
August 5, by|1932, Tommy Bridgesof the Detroit Tigersgave up a pinch-hit single to the Senators' Dave Harris.
June 27, by|1958, Billy Pierceof the Chicago White Soxgave up a double, which landed just inches in fair territory, on his first pitch to Senators pinch hitter Ed Fitz Gerald.
September 2, by|1972, Milt Pappasof the Chicago Cubswalked Padres pinch-hitter Larry Stahlon a borderline 3-2 pitch. Pappas finished with a no-hitter. The umpire, Bruce Froemming, was in his second year; he went on to a 37-year career in which he umpired a record 11 no-hitters. Pappas believed he had struck out Stahl, and years later continued to bear ill will toward Froemming. [cite web|author=Amspacher, Bruce|url=http://www.psacard.com/articles/article_view.chtml?artid=3819&universeid=314|title=What Really Happened? An Interview with Major League Pitching Great Milt Pappas|publisher=Professional Sports Authenticator|date= 2003-04-11|accessdate=2007-08-20] [cite web|author=Weinbaum, William|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3019597|title=Froemming Draws Pappas' Ire, 35 Years Later|publisher=ESPN|date= 2007-09-20|accessdate=2007-09-26]
April 15, by|1983, Milt Wilcoxof the Tigers surrendered a single to the White Sox' Jerry Hairston.
May 2, by|1988, Ron Robinsonof the Cincinnati Redsgave up a hit to the Expos' Wallace Johnson. Robinson then allowed a two-run homer to Tim Rainesand was removed from the game. The final score was 3-2, with Robinson the winner.
August 4, by|1989, Dave Stiebof the Blue Jays gave up a double to the New York Yankees' Roberto Kelly, followed by an RBI single by Steve Sax. Stieb finished with a 2-1 victory.
April 20, by|1990, Brian Holmanof the Seattle Marinersgave up a home run to Ken Phelpsof the Oakland Athletics.
September 2, by|2001, Mike Mussinaof the Yankees gave up a two-strike single to Red Sox pinch-hitter Carl Everett.
Other notable near-perfect games
Nine or more consecutive innings of perfection
There have been eleven occasions in Major League Baseball history when a pitcher, after allowing one or more runners to reach base, recorded at least 27 consecutive outs.Fact|date=September 2007 In two cases, the game went into extra innings, and the pitcher recorded "more" than 27 consecutive outs:
September 24, 1919, Waite Hoyt, pitching for the Red Sox against the Yankees, gave up three singles in a row in the second inning. Hoyt retired the next three batters and did not allow another baserunner until Wally Pipptripled with one out in the 13th inning of a 1-1 game. The next batter hit a sacrifice fly, and Hoyt lost 2-1. Hoyt had been perfect for 11 1/3 innings, retiring 34 consecutive batters.
September 18, 1971, Rick Wise, pitching for the Phillies against the Cubs, gave up a home run to the leadoff batter in the second inning, Frank Fernandez. He did not allow another baserunner until Ron Santosingled with two outs in the top of the 12th. Wise retired the next batter and the Phillies scored in the bottom of the inning, making him the winner, 4-3. Wise had been perfect for 10 2/3, retiring 32 consecutive batters—the record for most consecutive outs in a game by a winning pitcher. At the plate, Wise helped his cause by going 3 for 6, with a double and the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the 12th. The starting pitcher for the Cubs was Milt Pappas, who would have his near-perfect game one year later. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI197109180.shtml Saturday, September 18, 1971 Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies Play-by-Play] Baseball-Reference.com]
In the nine other instances, the leadoff batter (or batters) reached base in the first inning, followed by 27 consecutive batters (or batters and baserunners) being retired through the end of a nine-inning game. In one case, the leadoff baserunner was retired, meaning the pitcher faced the minimum:
June 30, 1908, Red Sox pitcher Cy Young walked the Yankees' leadoff batter, Harry Niles, who was caught stealing. No one else reached base against Young, who also had three hits and four RBIs in Boston's 8-0 win. It was the third no-hitter of Young's career and about as close as possible to being his second perfect game.Fact|date=September 2007The remaining instancesFact|date=September 2007 in which a pitcher recorded 27 consecutive outs in a game, noting how the opponent's leadoff batter (or batters) reached base:
July 23, 1880, Monte Ward/ Providence Grays(single by Cincinnati Red Stockings' Blondie Purcell)Fact|date=September 2007
May 24, 1884, Al Atkinson/Philadelphia Athletics (single by Pittsburgh Alleghenys' Ed Swartwood, who stole second, reached third on a groundout, and scored on a passed ball)Fact|date=September 2007
May 16, 1953, Curt Simmons/Philadelphia Phillies (single by Milwaukee Braves' Bill Bruten)Fact|date=September 2007
May 13, 1954, Robin Roberts/Phillies (home run by Reds' Bobby Adams) Fact|date=September 2007
July 1, 1966, Woodie Fryman/Pittsburgh Pirates (single by New York Mets' Ron Hunt)
May 19, 1981, Jim Bibby/Pirates (single by Atlanta Braves' Terry Harper)
April 22, 1993, Chris Bosio/Seattle Mariners (walks by Red Sox Ernest Rilesand Carlos Quintana, the latter of whom was retired on a double play)
July 7, 2006, John Lackey/ Los Angeles Angels(double by then Oakland A Mark Kotsay) [ [http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/2006/B07070OAK2006.htm Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, July 7, 2006 (N) at Network Associates Coliseum] Retrosheet. Retrieved on November 21, 2007.] Ward and Young are thus the only two men in baseball history to retire 27 consecutive men in a game on two separate occasions.
No-hit, no-walk, no–hit batsman games
In Major League Baseball play since 1893, with the essential modern rules in place, there have been seven instances when a pitcher performed his (primary) job to perfection over a complete game of at least nine innings, but was not awarded a perfect game because of fielding errors:Fact|date=September 2007
June 13, 1905, Christy Mathewsonof the New York Giantsshut down the Cubs, falling short of a perfect game only because of errors by shortstop Bill Dahlenand second baseman Billy Gilbert. In a classic pitching duel, the Cubs' Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown also carried a no-hitter into the ninth, losing it and the game, 1-0. [Schott and Peters (2003), p. 410.]
September 5, 1908, the Brooklyn Dodgers' Nap Ruckerblanked the Boston Doves with a flawless pitching performance, despite errors that allowed three Doves to reach base. In almost a century since, no otherwise perfect game has been spoiled by multiple errors.Fact|date=September 2007
July 1, 1920, an error by Senators second baseman Bucky Harriswas the lone defect in what would have been a perfect game by Walter Johnson. Harry Hooper, the Red Sox who reached base, was batting leadoff in the seventh.Fact|date=September 2007
September 3, 1947, with one out in the second, Philadelphia Athletics' first baseman Ferris Fain, after fielding a routine grounder, threw wildly to pitcher Bill McCahan, covering first base. Stan Spenceof the Senators made it all the way to second, the only blemish on McCahan's otherwise perfect game.Fact|date=September 2007
July 19, 1974, flawless through 3 2/3, Cleveland Indianspitcher Dick Bosmanfailed to handle a slow roller hit by Sal Bando. Not one other Oakland Athletic would reach base, making this the only occasion in major league history when the sole demerit on an otherwise perfect defensive line was the pitcher's own fielding error.
June 27, 1980, Jerry Reussof the Los Angeles Dodgers pitched a virtually immaculate game, but without hope of perfection—a first-inning throwing error by shortstop Bill Russell allowed the San Francisco Giants' Jack Clark to reach base.
August 15, 1990, the Giants' Rick Parker, batting leadoff in the seventh, reached base on a throwing error by Phillies third baseman Charlie Hayes. Parker was retired when the next batter, Dave Anderson, grounded into a double play. Terry Mulhollandpitched flawlessly "and" faced the minimum 27—but, still, no perfect game. Hayes is thought to have redeemed himself for the fielding error by making a spectacular catch on a line drive in the ninth inning, thereby protecting Mulholland's no-hitter.
Note that no otherwise perfect game in major league history has ever been spoiled solely due to a third-strike
passed ball, third-strike wild pitch, interference, or an outfield error. Note also that more than one online survey incorrectly lists the game pitched by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Bill Singeragainst the Phillies on July 20, 1970, as perfect aside from two throwing errors by Singer; in fact, he also hit batter Oscar Gamblein the first inning. [Lewis (2002). One of the mistaken websites is [http://www.hickoksports.com/history/nohitter.shtml HickokSports.com] , which contains numerous errors.]
The Scout" ( 20th Century-Fox, 1994), protagonist Steve Nebraska ( Brendan Fraser) throws a perfect game for the Yankees in the first contest of the World Series, which is also his major-league debut. Nebraska—wearing Don Larsen's uniform number 18—strikes out all 27 batters on three pitches each, making it an 81-pitch "super-perfect" game.
For Love of the Game" ( Universal Pictures, 1999), hero Billy Chapel ( Kevin Costner) pitches a perfect game at Yankee Stadium. One of the game's commentators, Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, playing himself, refers to his broadcast of Larsen's perfect World Series game, also played at Yankee Stadium. The movie is based on a short novel of the same name by author Michael Shaara.
*In the novel "Maybe a Miracle" (2005) by Brian Strause, protagonist Monroe Anderson takes his comatose sister Annika to watch the
Cincinnati Redsplay the St. Louis Cardinalsat the Great American Ball Park. Pitcher José Rijopitches a perfect game, winning 1-0. There are many references to other real players, including Barry Larkin(who hits the go-ahead home run), Albert Pujols, and Ken Griffey, Jr., who preserves the perfect game by making a catch that prevents a home run by Jim Edmonds.
*Alvarez, Mark, ed. (1993). "The Perfect Game: A Classic Collection of Facts, Figures, Stories and Characters from the Society for American Baseball Research" (Taylor). ISBN 0-87833-815-2
*Anderson, David W. (2000). "More Than Merkle: A History of the Best and Most Exciting Baseball Season in Human History" (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press). ISBN 0-8032-1056-6
*Buckley, Jr., James (2002). "Perfect: The Inside Story of Baseball's Seventeen Perfect Games" (Triumph Books). ISBN 1-57243-454-6
*Coffey, Michael (2004). "27 Men Out: Baseball's Perfect Games" (New York: Atria Books). ISBN 0-7434-4606-2
*Deutsch, Jordan A. et al. (1975). "The Scrapbook History of Baseball" (New York: Bobbs-Merrill). ISBN 0-672-52028-1
*Dewey, Donald, and Nicholas Acocella (1995). "The Biographical History of Baseball" (New York: Carroll & Graf). ISBN 1-57243-567-4
*Fleitz, David L. (2004). "Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown: Sixteen Little-Known Members of the Hall of Fame" (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland). ISBN 0-7864-1749-8
*Holtzman, Jerome (2003). "Pitching Perfection Is in the Eye of the Beholder," "Baseball Digest" (June; available [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCI/is_6_62/ai_100961679 online] ).
*Lewis, Allen (2002). "Tainted No-hitters," "Baseball Digest" (February; available [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCI/is_2_61/ai_81761310/pg_2 online] ).
*Okrent, Daniel, and Steve Wulf (1989). "Baseball Anecdotes" (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press). ISBN 0-19-504396-0
*Schott, Tom, and Nick Peters (2003). "The Giants Encyclopedia" (Champaign, Ill.: Sports Publishing LLC). ISBN 1-58261-693-0
*Ralph, John (2004). "Remembering the Near-Misses," [http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/news/mlb_news.jsp?ymd=20040518&content_id=746685&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp "MLB.com" (May 18)] .
* [http://www.baseball-almanac.com/pitching/piperf.shtml Baseball Almanac]
* [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/homepage/ BaseballLibrary.com]
* [http://www.thebaseballpage.com/stats/lists_feats/perfect_games.htm The Baseball Page]
* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/ Baseball-Reference.com]
* [http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/rare_feats/index.jsp?feature=perfect_game MLB.com]
*Nippon Professional Baseball perfect games
* [http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2814 Pitchers who retired 27 consecutive batters or more over a span of two or more games] "
Baseball Prospectus" article by Keith Woolner on "hidden" perfect games (also see the [http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2910 follow-up] )
* [http://www.baseball-almanac.com/pitching/piperf.shtml Perfect game boxscores] "Baseball Almanac"'s "Perfect Game Club," with links to boxscores of all 17 official MLB perfect games, as well as four unofficial perfectos
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Look at other dictionaries:
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perfect game — noun a game in which a pitcher does not allow any opposing player to reach base • Hypernyms: ↑baseball, ↑baseball game * * * noun, pl ⋯ games [count] baseball : a game in which a pitcher does not allow the batters from the other team to get a… … Useful english dictionary
perfect game — noun Date: circa 1949 a baseball game in which a pitcher allows no hits, no runs, and no opposing batter to reach first base … New Collegiate Dictionary
perfect game — noun A game in which every batter on one team is retired without reaching base … Wiktionary
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