The Perfect 20
Every 10,000 MLB games perfection happens.
Since 1876, there have been 200,070 games played in Major League Baseball and on only 20 occasions has a pitcher achieved the immortality of a perfect game.
Lee Richmond (1880) of the Worcester Ruby Legs hurled the first perfect game in MLB history. The game featured an unusual 9-3 putout to preserve the masterpiece. Five days later, John Montgomery Ward (1880) hurled the second perfect game for the Providence Grays. Amazingly, it would take 84 years for the next National League pitcher to achieve perfection.
Don Larsen pitched the only post-season perfecto in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The right-hander completed his MLB career posting an 81-91 record, 3.78 ERA, 1.40 WHIP. Larsen’s gem is often regarded as the greatest game ever pitched.
Charles Robertson (1922) is the least likely candidate to throw a perfect game. The right-hander accomplished the feat for the Chicago White Sox in only his fifth MLB start. Robertson compiled a lifetime 49-80 record, 4.44 ERA, and 1.51 WHIP over eight seasons.
In the past 30 seasons alone, there have been eleven perfect games.
Roy Halladay (2010), Dallas Braden (2010), Mark Buehrle (2009), Randy Johnson (2004), David Cone (1999), David Wells (1998), Kenny Rogers (1994), Dennis Martinez (1991), Tom Browning (1988), Mike Witt (1984), and Len Barker (1981) round out the twenty greatest games ever pitched in MLB history.
There have been ten additional occasions in which a pitcher has retired the first 26 batters before surrendering a base runner to end the bid of perfection. The last occurrence famously involved Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers in 2010.
Harvey Haddix and Pedro Martinez are the only two pitchers ever to take a perfect game into extra-innings. Unfortunately, these two amazing performances are not considered official perfect games in the record books.
There have been perfect games authored 5 days apart, 23 days apart, and 34 years apart.
Regardless, this special feat has the chance to occur every time you walk through the turnstile at the nearest ballpark cathedral. Otherwise, when the pitcher gives up a leadoff single to start the game, you can say, “there goes the perfect game”.
Twenty-seven up, twenty-seven down. Baseball Immortality.