What is a Perfect Game in Baseball? 5 Facts to know

In baseball, a “perfect game” is a game in which no batter on either team gets to first base. The odds of this happening are very low, which makes it a truly amazing baseball accomplishment.

The pitchers for each team must go the whole game without giving up a hit, a walk, or a hit by pitch, and the fielders must catch every ball hit into fair territory without making a mistake.

Even though all eleven players on the field have to do their jobs perfectly, the pitcher is usually the one who gets the most attention for this.

Length Requirements

Different baseball leagues’ rules say that games must last longer than a certain number of innings to be considered “perfect.” Perfect games must go the full nine innings in Major League Baseball, which is the best professional league in the world.

What is a Perfect Game in Baseball

Games that end before all nine innings have been played because of bad weather do not count. Games that last longer than nine innings are only perfect if neither team gets on base at the end.

There may not be a set number of innings for each game in leagues for younger players or those with shorter games (like seven or five innings).

No-Hitters

Some people call a perfect game a “no-hitter” because neither team got a hit during the whole game. No-hitters are not always the best games, though, because batters can still get on base through walks or errors.

Even if the other team’s batters don’t get a hit or even reach base safely, they can’t score any runs, so a no-hitter can still be thrown and lead to a loss.

Common Components

For a pitcher to throw a perfect game, there can’t be any walks or hits, and there can’t be any hits, either. In the same way, the pitcher needs to have great defense.

In addition to the fielders not making any mistakes, many perfect games have a defensive play in which a fielder turns a near-hit into an out with a diving catch, a long throw, or some other great play.

Because poorly hit balls often drop or roll where fielders can’t get to them in time to make an out, many people think that luck also plays a role.

Major League History

As of the 2012 MLB season, 23 perfect games have been played. The most ever in a single season was three of them, which happened in 2012. Each of these perfect games was thrown by the same pitcher the whole time, not by a pitcher who took over for the original starter.

What is a Perfect Game in Baseball

On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees did it against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series. No pitcher in the major leagues has ever thrown two perfect games.

Frequency

Since the 1980s, there have been more perfect games in the MLB, but they still don’t happen very often. Larsen had to wait 34 years to throw a perfect game. He was only the sixth pitcher since 1880 to do so.

Only three more happened in the next 24 years, bringing the total to nine in 101 years. But between 1981 and 2012, there were 14 perfect games: three in the 1980s, four in the 1990s, one in 2004, one in 2009, two in 2010, and three in 2012.

What is a Perfect Game in Baseball

Major League Perfect Games (1880-2012)

Pitcher

Date

Team

Pitches

Opponent

John Lee Richmond12 June 1880Worcester Worcestersn/aCleveland Blues
Monte Ward17 June 1880Providence Graysn/aBuffalo Bisons
Cy Young5 May 1904Boston Pilgrimsn/aPhiladelphia A’s
Addie Joss2 October 1908Cleveland Naps74Chicago White Sox
Charlie Robertson30 April 1922Chicago White Sox90Detroit Tigers
Don Larsen8 October 1956New York Yankees97Brooklyn Dodgers
Jim Bunning21 June 1964Philadelphia Phillies90New York Mets
Sandy Koufax9 September 1965Los Angeles Dodgers113Chicago Cubs
Catfish Hunter8 May 1968Oakland A’s107Minnesota Twins
Len Barker15 May 1981Cleveland Indians103Toronto Blue Jays
Mike Witt30 September 1984California Angels94Texas Rangers
Tom Browning16 September 1988Cincinnati Reds102Los Angeles Dodgers
Dennis Martinez28 July 1991Montreal Expos95Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenny Rogers28 July 1994Texas Rangers98California Angels
David Wells17 May 1998New York Yankees120Minnesota Twins
David Cone18 July 1999New York Yankees88Montreal Expos
Randy Johnson18 May 2004Arizona Diamondbacks117Atlanta Braves
Mark Buehrle23 July 2009Chicago White Sox116Tampa Bay Rays
Dallas Braden9 May 2010Oakland Athletics109Tampa Bay Rays
Roy Halladay29 May 2010Philadelphia Phillies115Florida Marlins
Philip Humber21 April 2012Chicago White Sox96Seattle Mariners
Matt Cain13 June 2012San Francisco Giants125Houston Astros
Felix Hernandez15 August 2012Seattle Mariners113

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