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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • A Brief History of Perfect Games in Major League History

  • Dallas Braden's improbable perfect game Sunday got us to thinking about other "perfectos" in Major League Baseball history. TWI Sports Intern Mike O'Reilly rolled up his sleeves and did some serious research in to this fascinating topic...


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  • The first perfect game in Major League Baseball history was thrown on June 12, 1880.
    That historic gem was pitched by Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs against the Cleveland Blues.
    Richmond went 32-32 with a 2.15 ERA in 74 games with 590.2 innings pitched and 243 Ks outs.
    At that time Richmond was 23-years old, his career started in 1879 and ended in 1886. He didn’t pitch in 1884 and 1885.
    Five days later, another perfect game was tossed by the legendary John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays against the Buffalo Bisons.
    Nicknamed "Monte" he was also a shortstop and second baseman. He began his career in 1878 at 18-years old and was only 20-years old when he spun his perfect game.
    That season in 1880 Monte was 39-24 with a 1.74 ERA in 70 games with 595 innings pitched and 230 strikeouts.
    It took 24 years for the third case of perfection to come along and in 1904 a familiar name tossed the first perfect game of the modern era.
    On May 5, 1904 a man named Cy Young tossed around perfection. At the young age of 37-years old Cy had a record of 26-16 with an ERA of 1.97 and 380 innings pitched.
    We now have something you may have heard of called the Cy Young award for the best pitcher in the AL and NL and he’s the reason.
    His perfect game as a member of the Boston Americans versus the Philadelphia A’s was only one of Cy’s great feats.
    Young pitched from 1890-1911 (22-seasons) compiling a record of 511-316, a lifetime ERA of 2.63, 815 games started, 749 complete games over 7356 innings pitched.
    In 1908, the Cleveland Naps' Addie Joss threw a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. Then, in 1922, Charles Robertson for the Chicago White Sox against the Detroit Tigers.
    World Series
    After that a perfect game was not seen again until the World Series of 1956.
    Don Larsen did the deed for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
    This is the only post-season perfect game of the 19 that have ever been thrown.
    The next one was hurled by Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Mets in 1964.
    Then came along Sandy Koufax in 1965, throwing one for the ages against the Cubs.
    This was a 1-0 victory for the Dodgers, Koufax had 14 K’s.
    Catfish Hunter threw the first perfect game in Oakland A’s history until this weekend. This was accomplished against the Twins on May 6, 1968. Hunter had 11 K’s.
    Len Barker (Toronto Blue Jays 0, Cleveland Indians 3) , Mike Witt (California Angels 1, Texas Rangers 0), Tom Browning (LA Dodgers 0, Cincinnati Reds 1) and Dennis Martinez (Montreal Expos 2, LA Dodgers 0) followed.
    Dennis Martinez’s perfection was followed up 3-years later to the day by Kenny Rogers on July 28, 1984. Rogers had 8 K’s on 98 pitches for the Texas Rangers against the Cali Angels.
    Page 2 of 2 - In 1998 David Wells threw the second perfect game of my lifetime. It took Wells 120 pitches to put down the Twins 4-0. Wells would go on to help the Yankees win the World Series that season.
    A year later another Yankees pitcher David Cone tossed a perfect one. Cone did so in 88 pitches beating the Expos 6-0. The Yanks would go on to win the Series again behind Cone and Wells.
    The first perfect game of the 21st century was thrown by the 40-year old Randy Johnson (Arizona Diamondbacks) on May 18, 2004 beating the Braves 2-0. Johnson was a part of the D-Backs 2001 World Series championship team.
    In 2009 and 2010 the Tampa Bay Rays were blanked twice. The first perfect game was thrown by Mark Buehrle of the White Sox and the second was Dallas Braden of the A’s. Both were left handed pitchers, threw over 100 pitches and had 6 K’s.
    Numbers
    The youngest pitcher to pitch a perfect game was John Montgomery Ward at 20-years old. The oldest was Randy Johnson at 40-years old.
    The least amount of K’s in a perfect game is tied at 3 by Cy Young and Addie Joss, the most is 14 by Sandy Koufax.
    The most perfect games for any team is the New York Yankees with three (Larsen, Wells and Cone). The most pitched against any team is a tie between the Twins, Rays and Dodgers.
    The least amount of pitches thrown in a perfect game is 74 by Addie Joss. The most is 120 by David Wells.
    Cy Young pitched the shortest perfect game at 1 hour and 23 minutes, while David Wells took 2 hours and 40 minutes. If you include a 33-minute rain delay Cone’s perfect game was the longest 2:49 (without the rain delay it’s 2:16).
    There were only 700 people in attendance for Lee Richmond’s perfect game in 1880, this is the least of all perfect games. Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series against the Dodgers had the most with 64,519 people witnessing history.
    Mother’s Day Special
    Dallas Braden’s perfect game was a heart warming game that won’t be soon forgotten. This is a guy who only pitched in high school for two seasons and at one point in his junior year he missed 79 of 81 days in school.
    His mother passed away of Melanoma and he notes his grandmother as his “rock of Gibraltar”.
    His grandmother helped him from going down the wrong road when he was young. It was a remarkable event to watch.
    I began watching in the 7th inning and was proud to see him complete his perfecto and hug his grandmother.
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