A perfect game
in Major League Baseball
is a victory
by a pitcher
(or combination of pitchers) that lasts a minimum of nine innings
with no batter reaching first base
To achieve a perfect game, a team must not allow any opposing player to reach base by any means: no hits
, hit batsmen
, uncaught third strikes
, catcher's or fielder's interference
, or fielding errors
; in short, "27 up, 27 down" (for a nine-inning game). The feat has been achieved 23 times
in MLB history – 21 times since the modern era began in 1901, most recently by Félix Hernández
of the Seattle Mariners
on August 15, 2012
. A perfect game, by definition, is also a no-hitter
and a shutout
. A fielding error
that does not allow a batter to reach base, 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 innings
do not qualify as perfect games.
The first known use of the term perfect game
was in 1908
; its current definition was formalized in 1991
. Although it is theoretically possible for several pitchers to combine for a perfect game (which has happened 11 times in MLB no-hitters), every MLB perfect game so far has been thrown by a single pitcher.
The first known occurrence of the term perfect game
in print was in 1908. I. E. Sanborn's report for the Chicago Tribune
about Addie 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".
Several sources have claimed that the first recorded usage of perfect game
was by Ernest J. Lanigan
in his Baseball Cyclopedia
, made in reference to Charlie Robertson
's 1922 perfect game.
The Chicago Tribune
came close to the term in describing Lee Richmond
's game for Worcester
in 1880: "Richmond was most effectively supported, every position on the home nine being played to perfection."
Similarly, in writing up John Montgomery Ward
's 1880 perfect game, the New York Clipper
described the "perfect play" of Providence's defense.
As of 2014, the Major League Baseball
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". As a result of the 1991 redefinition, for instance, Harvey Haddix
receives credit for neither a perfect game nor a no-hitter for his performance
on May 26, 1959, when he threw 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves
before allowing a baserunner in the 13th.
The most recent perfect game pitched in Major League Baseball was thrown by Félix Hernández
of the Seattle Mariners
against the Tampa Bay Rays
on August 15, 2012
He struck out the side twice and struck out twelve total batters in the 1–0 victory over Tampa Bay. Since the beginning of the 2009 MLB season, it was the third time that the Tampa Bay Rays
were on the losing end of a perfect game.
games played until 2019, a perfect game was by definition a win for the team that achieved it, as without any baserunners it is impossible to score. However, a rule implemented since 2020 opened a window for a perfect game to result in a loss. The rule states that, in case of extra innings, a runner is automatically placed in second base at the start of each half-inning. This runner has not technically been allowed to reach base by the pitching team, but he can still score without another runner reaching base, e.g. via a sacrifice fly
, a sacrifice bunt
, stolen bases, wild pitches and passed balls etc. Thus, it is theoretically possible, though highly unlikely, that a scoreless game going into extra innings results in a 1-0 loss for a team that didn't allow any batters to reach base.
- ^ Madden, Bill (September 12, 2008). "Yogi Berra's Favorite Stadium Moment: Don Larsen's Perfect Game". Daily News. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- ^ "MLB Official Info". MLB Advanced Media. 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- ^ "MLB Miscellany: Rules, Regulations and Statistics". Major League Baseball. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
- ^ "History: No-hitters". Major League Baseball. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
- ^ Deutsch et al. (1975), p. 68. This source also includes an 1880 clipping from the New York Herald describing Lee Richmond's perfect game for Worcester. 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".
- ^ 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.
- ^ Buckley (2002), p. 15.
- ^ Buckley (2002), p. 26.
- ^ Young (1997), p. 29.
- ^ Forker, Obojski, and Stewart (2004), p. 116.
- ^ "David Wells Field in Point Loma gets renovated". ABC 10 News. July 1, 2014. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- ^ "David Cone Perfect Game Box Score by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. 1999-07-18. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
- ^ "Len Barker Perfect Game Box Score". Baseball-Almanac. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- ^ "Dennis Martinez Perfect Game Box Score". Baseball-Almanac. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- ^ "Félix Hernández Perfect Game Box Score". Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- ^ Associated Press (April 11, 2021). "North Texas softball pitcher Hope Trautwein strikes out all 21 batters in perfect game". ESPN.
- ^ Morrison, Jim (April 5, 2010). "The Little League World Series' Only Perfect Game". Smithsonian.com. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
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Last edited on 30 April 2021, at 20:59
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