Perfect Games

And you can’t forget the shaving cream.

In case you haven’t heard, Mark Buerhle threw a perfect game today. No-hitters are amazing enough, but perfect games are downright brain-meltingly good. There have been 263 no-hitters in Major League Baseball history, but there have only been 18 perfect games. Of course, perfect games are much more difficult (apparently 14.6 times more difficult). You can’t have an error. You can’t give up a walk. You can’t hit a batter. And of course, you can give up no hits. Let’s run through some stuff on perfect games.

– Of the 18 perfect games, 11 were done by American League pitchers.

– Only 5 of the 18 were performed before the Retrosheet Era.

– Only 1 was pitched during a World Series game when Don Larsen did it in the 1956 World Series. No other pitcher has even thrown a no-hitter during the World Series.

– The fewest strikeouts in a perfect game was 2 by John Ward in 1880, but because that doesn’t really count because it was done before pitchers threw overhand (how do you throw a complete game throwing underhand like that?). Cy Young (1904) and Addie Joss (1908) come in second with only 3 strikeouts.

– But it usually helps to strike batters out in order to avoid as many Dewayne Wise catches as possible. Sandy Koufax (1965) made it the easiest on his defense by striking out 14, but Randy Johnson (2004) came close by striking out 13. Buerhle struck out 6.

– John Ward was the youngest to throw a no-hitter at the age of 20, but Catfish Hunter (at age 22) is the youngest in the modern era. Randy Johnson, at the ripe old age of 40, is the oldest to accomplish the feat.

– Harvey Haddix and Pedro Martinez lost perfect games in extra innings. Haddix lost his in the 13th because of an error, and Martinez lost his in the 10th off of a hit.

– Nolan Ryan threw 7 no-hitters but never a perfect game. According the odds, that’s not too big of a shock, and considering how many people he walked anyway, it’s even less of a shock.

– Shockingly, Buerhle’s no-hitter was not the fastest in history (2:06). That belongs to Cy Young with 1:25. It’s actually not all that shocking considering the TV restrictions that elongate games now.

– No one has ever thrown 2 perfect games.

– The New York Yankees have thrown the most perfect games with 3 (Larsen, David Wells – 1998, and David Cone – 1999). The Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox are second with 2.

– 9 perfect games have been lost on the last out. 10 others were lost to the leadoff hitter and the pitcher went on to retire the next 27.

Congrats, Mr. Buerhle.

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2 Responses to “Perfect Games”

  1. Utpal Says:

    In one of the luckiest coincidences of my life, I was at Yankee Stadium the day David Cone pitched a perfect game ten years ago. I remember the rain coming down hard. They played Gene Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain”, and I wondered if we would even get to see a full baseball game. As a thirteen year-old kid, I was also happy to get a Yogi Berra pin. Honestly, I didn’t even pay that much attention through the first few innings–it was just Yogi Berra Day at the Stadium in my mind. It was somewhere in the fifth or sixth inning that I got a sense of the magic being written before my eyes. After that, every Expo that came up brought a bit more tension. Seeing the end of that was absolutely wild. I still have the program from that game sitting in my room.

    I also remember the day distinctly because it was the first time I’d ever heard of this guy who seemed to be pretty darn good, even though he couldn’t seem to touch Coney in that game. His name? Vlad Guerrero.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    That's awesome. I've seen some cool stuff in person (Maddux's 150th and 200th wins among them), but I can't imagine the magic in the stadium on a night like that. Just awesome.

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