What is a perfect game in baseball?
A perfect game in baseball occurs when a pitcher or a group of pitchers wins a baseball game by throwing a minimum of 9 innings without allowing an opposing team player to reach base.
The first two pitchers to accomplish the feat did so under rules that differed significantly from those used today: in 1880, for instance, only underhand pitching—from a flat, marked-out box 45 feet from home plate—was permitted, drawing a walk required eight balls, and a batter was not awarded first base if hit by a pitch. Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs, a left-handed pitcher, threw the first perfect game. He was a professional baseball player for six years but only pitched full-time for three of them, concluding with a losing record.
John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays threw the second perfect game. Ward, a good pitcher who developed into an exceptional position player, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Though the modern era of Major League Baseball is said to begin in 1900, the fundamental rules of the modern game were in place by the 1893 season. The pitching distance was reduced to 60 feet, 6 inches that year, and the pitcher’s box was replaced by a rubber slab against which the pitcher was forced to put his back foot. Two additional significant rule modifications occurred in previous years: The National League implemented the rule of awarding a hitter first base in 1887 (this had been the norm in the American Association since 1884.
Here is a list of all of the perfect games, beginning with the pitcher and ending with the teams, scores, and dates:
- Lee Richmond’s Worcester Ruby Legs defeated the Cleveland Blues 1-0 on Jun. 12, 1880.
- On Jun. 17, 1880, John Ward led the Providence Grays to a 5-0 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.
- on May 5, 1904, the Philadelphia Athletics fell by 3-0 to the Cy Young’s Boston Red Sox.
- Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Naps, 0-1, Oct. 2, 1908. Addie Joss
- Charles Robertson of the Chicago White Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Apr. 30, 1922.
- Don Larsen’s New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 on Oct. 8, 1956.
- On Jun. 21, 1964, Jim Bunning led the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-0 victory over the New York Mets.
- Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs 1-0 on Sept. 9, 1965.
- Catfish Hunter led the Oakland Athletics to a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on May 8, 1968.
- Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0, May 15, 1981, Len Barker.
- Mike Witt of the California Angels defeated the Texas Rangers 1-0 on Sept. 30, 1984.
- Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Sept. 16, 1988.
- Dennis Martinez led the Montreal Expos to a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Jul. 28, 1991.
- Kenny Rogers of the Texas Rangers defeated the California Angels 4-0 on Jul. 28, 1994.
- May 17, 1998, David Wells, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins, 4-0.
- On Jul. 18, 1999, David Cone led the New York Yankees to a 6-0 victory over the Montreal Expos.
- Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Atlanta Braves 2-0 on May 18, 2004.
- Mark Buehrle pitched a 5-0 victory for the Chicago White Sox over the Tampa Bay Rays on Jul. 23, 2009.
- Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 on May 9, 2010.
- Roy Halladay pitched a 1-0 victory over the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010.
- Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-0 on Apr. 21, 2012.
- Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants defeated the Houston Astros 10-0 on Jun. 13, 2012.
- Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Aug. 15, 2012.
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