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A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as 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. 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 18 times in the history of major league baseball—16 times since the modern era began in 1900.

By definition, a perfect game must be both a no-hitter and 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 innings do not qualify as official perfect games under the present definition. The first confirmed use of the term "perfect game" was in ; the current official definition of the term was formalized in . 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 thrown by a single pitcher.


Over the past 134 years of Major League Baseball history, there have been only 18 official perfect games by the current definition. In sum, a perfect game occurs once in about every 11,000 major league contests. 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 perfect game thrown by Don Larsen in game 5 of the 1956 World Series is the only postseason no-hitter in major league history.

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 Lee Richmond, a left-handed pitcher for the Worcester Ruby Legs. Richmond played major-league baseball for only six years, finishing with a losing record. The second perfect game was thrown by John Montgomery Ward for the Providence Grays. Ward, who made the transition from excellent pitcher to excellent position player, went on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Famemarker.

During baseball's "modern era", defined by Major League Baseball as beginning in 1900, sixteen more pitchers have thrown perfect games. Most of the modern-era players to have thrown perfect games were accomplished major league pitchers. Five are members of the Baseball Hall of Famemarker: Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, and Catfish Hunter. A sixth, Randy Johnson, is a five-time Cy Young Award winner considered certain to be voted into the Hall of Fame when eligible. David Cone also 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. Mark Buerhle has been an All-Star four times in his ten major league seasons through 2009. For a few the perfect game was the highlight of an otherwise unremarkable career. Mike Witt and Tom Browning were solid major league pitchers; each finished in the top ten in Cy Young voting once. Larsen, Charlie Robertson, and Len Barker were journeyman pitchers; each finished his major-league career with a losing record.

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." 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. The Chicago Tribune came close to the term in describing Richmond's game in 1880: "Richmond was most effectively supported, every position on the home nine being played to perfection." Similarly, in writing up Ward's perfect game, the New York Clipper described the "perfect play" of Providence's defense.

Major League Baseball perfect games

19th century

Pitcher Date Game
Lee Richmond (Wor)
   LHP, 23
   5 K

June 12, 1880
John Montgomery Ward (Prov)
   RHP, 20
   5 K

June 17, 1880

Modern era

Pitcher Date Game
Cy Young (BOS)
   RHP, 37
   3 K

May 5, 1904
Addie Joss (CLE)
   RHP, 28
   74 pitches, 3 K

October 2, 1908
Charlie Robertson (CHW)
   RHP, 26
   90 pitches, 6 K

April 30, 1922
Don Larsen (NYY)
   RHP, 27
   97 pitches, 7 K

October 8, 1956
Jim Bunning (PHI)
   RHP, 32
   90 pitches, 10 K

June 21, 1964
Sandy Koufax (LAD)
   LHP, 29
   113 pitches, 14 K

September 9, 1965
Catfish Hunter (OAK)
   RHP, 22
   107 pitches, 11 K

May 8, 1968
Len Barker (CLE)
   RHP, 25
   103 pitches, 11 K

May 15, 1981
Mike Witt (CAL)
   RHP, 24
   94 pitches, 10 K

September 30, 1984
Tom Browning (CIN)
   LHP, 28
   102 pitches, 7 K

September 16, 1988
Dennis Martínez (MON)
   RHP, 36
   95 pitches, 5 K

July 28, 1991
Kenny Rogers (TEX)
   LHP, 29
   98 pitches, 8 K

July 28, 1994
David Wells (NYY)
   LHP, 34
   120 pitches, 11 K

May 17, 1998
David Cone (NYY)
   RHP, 36
   88 pitches, 10 K

July 18, 1999
Randy Johnson (ARI)
   LHP, 40
   117 pitches, 13 K

May 18, 2004
Mark Buehrle (CHW)
   LHP, 30
   116 pitches, 6 K

July 23, 2009

Lee Richmond

Richmond was pitching in his first full season in the big leagues after appearing in one game in 1879. He was apparently also considered a good hitter, as he batted second in the lineup and got one of the three Worcester hits that day. Richmond's perfect game featured an unusual 9-3 putout, with Worcester right fielder Lon Knight throwing out Cleveland's Bill Phillips at first. Knight's assist came on one of three balls Cleveland hit out of the infield that day. According to some accounts, Richmond hurled his historic perfecto after staying up all night following a pregraduation dinner at Brown Universitymarker, pitching in an early morning class game, and taking a train to Worcestermarker just in time to perform his professional duties. Richmond pitched full-time for only three seasons. A monument marks the site of the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds where Richmond threw his perfect game, now part of the campus of Becker College. The Chicago Tribune recognized the feat as unusual, calling it "the most wonderful game on record".

John Montgomery Ward

Monte Ward threw his perfect game at the Grays' park in Providence, but Buffalo, by virtue of a coin toss, which was the custom under the rules at that time, was officially the "home" team, batting in the bottom of each inning. At the age of 20 years, 105 days, Ward is the youngest pitcher ever to throw a perfect game. Ward batted sixth in the lineup and got one of the Grays' thirteen hits. Beginning in 1881, the year after his perfect game, Ward spent more time as a position player than a pitcher; in 1885, following an arm injury, he became a full-time shortstop. Ward played the last ten years of his career at shortstop and second base, compiling 2,104 career hits.

Cy Young

Young's perfect game was part of a hitless innings streak (24 or 25 1/3 straight innings without a hit—depending on whether or not partial innings at either end of the streak are included—which, in either calculation, is still a record) and a scoreless innings streak (45 straight innings without a run, which was then a record).

Addie Joss

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. 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. Joss would throw a second no-hitter against the White Sox in 1910, making him the only major league pitcher ever to throw two no-hitters against the same team.

Charlie Robertson

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. The Tigers, led by player-manager Ty Cobb, accused Robertson of illegally doctoring the ball with oil or grease. 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.

Don Larsen

Larsen didn't know he would pitch in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series until a few hours before gametime. Larsen pitched in an unusual style during his perfect game, working without a windup. Just one Dodgers batter—Pee Wee Reese, in the first inning—worked a three-ball count. The Dodgers had the highest season winning percentage of any team ever to surrender a perfect game: .604. The 34 years between Robertson and Larsen are the longest amount of time between perfect games.

Jim Bunning

Bunning's game was the first perfect game in the National League since Ward's 84 years before. Contrary to the baseball superstition that holds one should not talk about a no-hitter in progress, Bunning did just that, talking to his teammates about the perfect game in progress to loosen them up and relieve the pressure.

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax's perfect game was the first one pitched at night. It was nearly a double no-hitter: Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley gave up only one hit, a bloop double to left-fielder Lou Johnson in 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 Krug overthrew third base. The total number of base runners in the game—2—(both Johnson) is the fewest in major league history.

Catfish Hunter

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. This was the first no-hitter of the Athletics' Oaklandmarker tenure, which was only 25 games old.

Len Barker

Barker's perfect game was the first one in which designated hitters were used. He didn't reach a three-ball count in the entire game. Toronto shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who played for the losing team in this game, went on to play for the losers in the perfect games of Browning and Martínez. All 11 of Barker's strikeouts were swinging.

Mike Witt

Witt's perfect game came on the last day of the 1984 season. After transitioning to the bullpen, Witt combined with starting pitcher Mark Langston to throw a no-hitter for the California Angels on April 11, 1990.

Tom Browning

Browning's perfect game came against the team that eventually won that year's World Series, the only time that has happened. A two-hour, twenty-seven-minute rain delay caused the game to start at approximately 10 PM. Right fielder Paul O'Neill, who played for the winning side in this game, also played for the winning side in the perfect games of Wells and Cone.

Dennis Martínez

Martínez, born in Granada, Nicaraguamarker, is the only major league pitcher born outside of the United States to throw a perfect game. Martínez faced only one three-ball count. Opposing pitcher Mike Morgan was 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. Martínez's catcher, Ron Hassey, also caught Len Barker's perfect game. This was the third perfect game pitched against the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, joining those of Larsen and Browning; the only other team to lose more than one perfect game is the Twins (Hunter and Wells).

Kenny Rogers

Rogers benefited from centerfielder Rusty Greer's fantastic diving catch of a line drive hit by Rex Hudler, leading off the ninth inning. Rogers's performance against the Angels came 10 seasons after Witt's perfect game against the Rangers. The Angels and Rangers are the only major league teams to record perfect games against each other.

David Wells

Wells attended the same high school as Don Larsen: Point Loma High School, San Diego, California. They also both enjoyed the night life. Casey Stengel once 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. 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.

David Cone

Cone's perfect game occurred on Yogi Berra Day. Don Larsen threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra, who had been his catcher during the 1956 World Series perfect game. Not a single Expo worked even a three-ball count. Cone's perfect game, to date the only one in regular-season interleague play, was interrupted by a 33-minute rain delay. This game came 1 year, 2 months, 1 day after Wells's, the shortest period between modern-day perfect games. This also represents the only time two successive perfect games have been thrown by the same team. This was the third perfect game in Yankee history; the Indians (Joss and Barker) and White Sox (Robertson and Buehrle) are the only other teams to have more than one perfect game.

Randy Johnson

Johnson threw his perfect game at the age of 40 years, 256 days, 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 37 years, 37 days. Of the 18 teams to have a perfect game 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.

Mark Buehrle

Buehrle was assisted by a dramatic ninth-inning wall-climbing catch by center fielder DeWayne Wise to rob Gabe Kapler of a home run. This was the first major league perfect game in which the pitcher and catcher were battery-mates for the first time; Ramón Castro had been acquired by the White Sox less than two months before. This was also the first perfect game to feature a grand slam, by Josh Fields in the bottom of the second inning. Umpire Eric Cooper, who called the game, was behind the plate for Buehrle's previous no-hitter, as well. On July 28, Buehrle followed up with another 5 2/3 innings of perfection to set the major league record for consecutive batters retired at 45 (including the final batter he faced in his last appearance before the perfect game).

General notes

Scorecard for Richmond's perfect game.
9-3 putout represented by "R-A" notation in fifth inning
Three perfect-game pitchers had RBIs in their games: Hunter (3), Bunning (2), and Young (1). Hunter had three hits; Richmond, Ward, Bunning, and Martínez each had one. No pitcher has ever scored a run during his perfect game. Barker, Witt, Rogers, Wells, Cone, and Buehrle did not bat in their perfect games, as the American League adopted the designated hitter rule 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).

Six perfect-game pitchers have also thrown at least one additional no-hitter: Young, Joss, Bunning, Koufax, Johnson, and Buehrle. Witt participated in a combined no-hitter. Koufax has the most total no-hitters of any perfect-game pitcher, with four. Richmond and Robertson were rookies, though each had made a single appearance in a previous season. Although by the latter part of the 20th century, major league games were being played predominantly at night, five of the last eight perfect games have taken place in the daytime. Of the thirty teams that currently make up Major League Baseball, eleven have never been involved in a perfect game, win or lose: the Giants, Cardinals, Pirates, Orioles, Royals, Mariners, Brewers, Astros, Padres, Marlins, and Rockies.

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 1887, the rule awarding a hit batsman first base was instituted in the National League (this had been the rule in the American Association since 1884—first by the umpire's judgment of the impact; as of the following year, virtually automatically). In 1889, the number of balls required for a walk was reduced to four. 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 hitter in American League games since the 1973 season, might have been expected to make perfect games more difficult to achieve in the AL. In fact, since 1973, six 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 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 the game described below in which he threw 12 perfect innings before allowing a baserunner in the 13th.

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 there was already a baserunner when he took the mound, or because the game went into extra innings and an opposing player eventually reached base:
  • On 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 Owens about 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 Shore came in to replace Ruth. Morgan was caught stealing by Sox catcher Pinch Thomas on 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.
  • On May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched what is often referred to as the greatest game in baseball history. Haddix carried a perfect game through an unprecedented 12 innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to have it ruined when an error by third baseman Don Hoak allowed Felix Mantilla, the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 13th inning, to reach base. A sacrifice by Eddie Matthews and an intentional walk to Hank Aaron followed; 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; despite their 12 hits in the game, they could not bring a run home. The 12 perfect innings—36 consecutive batters retired in a single game—remains a record.
  • On June 3, 1995, Pedro Martínez of the Montreal Expos had 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:

On March 14, 2000, in a spring training game—by definition unofficial—the Red Sox used six pitchers to retire all 27 Toronto Blue Jays batters in a 5-0 victory. The starting pitcher for the Red Sox was Pedro Martínez (see above).

Perfect games spoiled by 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:

Other notable near-perfect games

Nine or more consecutive innings of perfection

There have been twelve occasions in Major League Baseball history when a pitcher, after allowing one or more runners to reach base, recorded at least 27 consecutive outs. In two cases, the game went into extra innings, and the pitcher recorded more than 27 consecutive outs:
  • On September 24, 1919, Waite Hoyt, pitching for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the second game of a doubleheader, 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 Pipp tripled 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.
  • On 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 Santo singled 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.

In the ten 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:
  • On June 30, 1908, Red Sox pitcher Cy Young walked the New York Highlanders' 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.
The remaining instances in which a pitcher recorded 27 consecutive outs in a game, noting how the opponent's leadoff batter (or batters) reached base:

Ward and Young are thus the only two men in major league 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 eight instances when a pitcher allowed not a single baserunner due to his pitching efforts over a complete game of at least nine innings, but was not awarded a perfect game because of fielding errors:
  • On June 13, 1905, Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants pitched masterfully, but two Cubs nonetheless reached base on errors by shortstop Bill Dahlen and 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.
  • On September 5, 1908, the Brooklyn Dodgers' Nap Rucker blanked the Boston Doves with a flawless pitching performance, despite errors that allowed three Doves to reach base. In more than a century since, no otherwise perfect game has been spoiled by multiple errors.
  • On July 1, 1920, an error by Senators second baseman Bucky Harris was the lone defect in what was otherwise a perfect game by Walter Johnson. Harry Hooper, the Red Sox who reached base, was batting leadoff in the seventh.
  • On 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 Spence of the Senators made it all the way to second, the only blemish on McCahan's otherwise perfect game.
  • On July 19, 1974, flawless through 3 2/3 innings, Cleveland Indians pitcher Dick Bosman, handling a grounder off the bat of Oakland Athletic Sal Bando, threw over the first baseman's head. Not one other 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.
  • On June 27, 1980, Jerry Reuss of 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. Russell atoned for his gaffe with a sharp fielding play in the eighth inning.
  • On 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 Mulholland pitched 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.
  • On July 10, 2009, the Giants' Jonathan Sánchez pitched perfectly against the San Diego Padres through one out in the eighth inning. Third baseman Juan Uribe, who switched positions from second base to start the seventh inning, committed an error on a ground ball, his first chance at third, that allowed Chase Headley to reach first—the latest an error has resulted in the sole baserunner in an otherwise perfect game. Headley advanced to second on a wild pitch. It was the first complete game of Sánchez's career.

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. More than one online survey incorrectly lists the game pitched by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Bill Singer against the Phillies on July 20, 1970, as perfect aside from two throwing errors by Singer; in fact, he also hit batter Oscar Gamble in the first inning.

See also


  1. 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 388,382 as of July 24, 2009,[1] 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 , there have been about 180,000 games. A perfecto surfaces once in approximately 22,000 games or .00005 percent. Don Larsen of the Yankees authored the only perfect World Series game."
  2. 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".
  3. 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.
  4. Buckley (2002), p. 15.
  5. Buckley (2002), p. 26.
  6. Hanlon (1968).
  7. Okrent and Wulf (1989), pp. 14–15. The 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.
  8. Buckley (2002), p. 14.
  9. Buckley (2002), p. 27.
  10. Browning (2003), pp. 145, 248.
  11. Coffey (2004), p. 28.
  12. Anderson (2000), pp. 185–186. claims it was a passed ball.
  13. Buckley (2005), pp. 58, 61–64.
  14. 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.
  15. Buckley (2002), pp. 73–74.
  16. Kennedy (1996).
  17. Buckley (2002), p. vi.
  18. 1968 Oakland Athletics Game Log. Retrosheet. Retrieved on July 26, 2009.
  19. Newman (1981).
  20. Buckley (2002), p. 141.
  21. Buckley (2002), p. 169.
  22. Buckley (2002), p. 189.
  23. Gallagher (2003), p. 431.
  24. 2004 National League Season Summary. Retrieved on July 26, 2009.
  25. As of July 26, 2009, the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays, against whom Buerhle threw his perfect game, have a an OBP of .350. 2009 American League Season Summary. Retrieved on July 26, 2009.
  26. [ ]
  27. Dickson (2009), p. 415.
  28. Young (1997), p. 29.
  29. Forker, Obojski, and Stewart (2004), p. 116.
  30. Vass (2002).
  31. See, e.g., Chen (2009); Reisler (2007), p. 57; Thielman (2005), p. 169; Sullivan (2002), p. 139.
  32. Boxscore—Game Played on Tuesday, May 26, 1959 (N) at County Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on July 21, 2008.
  33. Boxscore—Game Played on Saturday, June 3, 1995 (N) at Jack Murphy Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  34. Robbins (2004), p. 242.
  35. Rothe, Emil H. The Shortened No-Hitters Baseball Research Journal. SABR. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  36. Zingg and Medeiros (1994), p. 27.
  37. Boxscore—Game Played on Saturday, April 21, 1984 (N) at Busch Stadium II Retrosheet. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  38. Pedro Martinez: Perfect Game—Spring Training Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  39. Holtzman (2003). Note that Coffey (2004) gives incorrect years for the near-perfect games of Wiltse, Stieb, Holman, and Mussina (p. 279).
  40. Nemec (2006), pp. 86–87; Simon (2004), p. 54; Vass (1998) notes that this is one of only three otherwise perfect games where the sole lapse was a hit batsman. The pitchers in the two other cases were Lew Burdette (August 18, 1960; fifth inning) and Kevin Brown (June 10, 1997; eighth inning).
  41. Deveaux (2001), p. 111; James (2003), p. 891.
  42. Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, June 27, 1958 (N) at Comiskey Park I Retrosheet; Billy Pierce Interview Baseball Almanac. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  43. Boxscore—Game Played on Saturday, September 2, 1972 (D) at Wrigley Field Retrosheet. Retrieved on June 6, 2009;
  44. Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, April 15, 1983 (N) at Comiskey Park I Retrosheet. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  45. Boxscore—Game Played on Monday, May 2, 1988 (N) at Riverfront Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  46. Box score: August 4, 1989—New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Retrieved on 2009-05-14.
  47. Box score: April 20, 1990—Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics Retrieved on 2009-05-14.
  48. Box score: September 2, 2001—New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Retrieved on 2009-05-14.
  49. Box score: September 18, 1971—Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies Retrieved on 2009-05-14.
  50. Arnold does not list Bosio's 1993 game, as his list is restricted to games in which only the leadoff man reached base before the next 27 batters were retired.
  51. Elston (2006), pp. 173–174.
  52. Charlton's Baseball Chronology—1880 (July) Baseball Library. Retrieved on May 11, 2009.
  53. Charlton's Baseball Chronology—1884 (May) Baseball Library. Retrieved on May 11, 2009. Note that this was an American Association game; the National League had not yet instituted the rule awarding hit batsmen first base.
  54. Boxscore—Game Played on Saturday, May 16, 1953 (D) at County Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on January 12, 2009.
  55. Boxscore—Game Played on Thursday, May 13, 1954 (N) at Connie Mack Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on January 12, 2009.
  56. Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, July 1, 1966 (N) at Shea Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on January 12, 2009.
  57. Boxscore—Game Played on Tuesday, May 19, 1981 (N) at Three Rivers Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on January 12, 2009.
  58. Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, June 11, 1982 (N) at Dodger Stadium Retrosheet. Retrieved on May 11, 2009.
  59. Boxscore—Game Played on Thursday, April 22, 1993 (N) at Kingdome Retrosheet. Retrieved on January 12, 2009.
  60. Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, July 7, 2006 (N) at Network Associates Coliseum Retrosheet. Retrieved on November 21, 2007.
  61. Vass (2007). This article predates the Sánchez game. Vass mistakenly includes two games: the one thrown by Cy Young, then with the Cleveland Spiders, on September 18, 1897; and the one thrown by Chicago White Sox pitcher Joel Horlen on September 10, 1967. In addition to three Spiders errors—including two that were originally scored as hits—Young walked a batter. See Lewis (2002) and Elston (2006), p. 246. In addition to one White Sox error, Horlen hit a batter in the 3d inning. See Boxscore—Game Played on Sunday, September 10, 1967 (D) at Comiskey Park I. Retrosheet. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  62. Schott and Peters (2003), p. 410.
  63. Deveaux (2001), p. 53; Robbins (2004), pp. 238–239.
  64. Robbins (2004), p. 239. See also Deveaux (2001), pp. 170–171.
  65. Schneider (2005), p. 142; Robbins (2004), p. 240; Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, July 19, 1974 (N) at Cleveland Stadium. Retrosheet. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  66. McNeil (2003), p. 342; Robbins (2004), pp. 240–241; Boxscore—Game Played on Friday, June 27, 1980 (N) at Candlestick Park. Retrosheet. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  67. Westcott (2005), p. 77; Robbins (2004), pp. 241–242; Boxscore—Game Played on Wednesday, August 15, 1990 (N) at Veterans Stadium. Retrosheet. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  68. Lewis (2002). See also Boxscore—Game Played on Monday, July 20, 1970 (D) at Dodger Stadium. Retrosheet. Retrieved on April 22, 2009. One of the mistaken websites is, which contains several errors.


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