How many perfect games in mlb history? Even with a surprising run of five perfect games in three seasons from 2010-12 — including three in ’12 alone — the achievement of retiring all 27 men in order remains one of the rarest of baseball’s gems.
There have been just 24 such outings among the hundreds of thousands of AL or NL games played since Rutherford B. Hayes was in the White House, and 21 in the Modern Era (since 1900). In fact, until Domingo Germán’s effort on June 28, there hadn’t been one in more than 10 years, the longest drought since a 13-year gap ended in 1981.
Of course, there have been many other close calls, from Harvey Haddix to Armando Galarraga. And each time a bid falls short, it reminds us just how difficult a perfecto is — and how it requires not only brilliant pitching, but also healthy doses of defensive support and good fortune.
All-time list and more to know about MLB pitchers’ most exclusive club
Major League Baseball is home to all sorts of rare and Herculean feats, but arguably none more legendary than a perfect game. Since 1876 — the first year of what we now know as the National League — there have been over 237,000 baseball games played. Only 24 times has a perfect game been thrown.
Break that down: 0.01 percent of MLB games in the sport’s history have been pure perfection. Only 214 innings of more than 4 million thrown.
What is a perfect game in baseball?
A perfect game happens when a starting pitcher faces the minimum amount of batters in a game, which would be 27. No batter can reach base on a hit, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, a dropped third strike, an error or otherwise. In its simplest terms: 27 up and 27 down.
By definition, a perfect game also has to go at least nine innings, so weather-shortened games or those that don’t go the full nine for any other reason do not officially count as perfect games.
Difference between no-hitter and perfect game
A perfect game only occurs when the pitcher doesn’t allow a single baserunner in the game, as in 27 batters up and 27 batters retired.
As long as there’s a “0” in the box score next to hits, then it’s a no-hitter. That said, in a no-hitter, hitters are allowed to reach base by walk, hit-by-pitch, error, fielder’s choice and so forth. In a perfect game, no baserunners can reach. Every perfect game is a no-hitter, but not every no-hitter is a perfect game.
Among the more intriguing examples of this is Edwin Jackson’s 2010 no-hitter for the Diamondbacks. The right-hander held his former team, the Rays, without a hit in a 1-0 victory, but he walked eight batters, hit another, and saw one more reach on an error. Far from perfect, but still a no-hitter.
How many perfect games in MLB history?
In total, there have been 24 perfect games thrown in MLB history. Of the 24 perfect games, 22 have occurred in MLB’s modern era (since 1901). All 24 games have been started and finished by the same pitcher, so unlike some no-hitters, there have been no combined perfect games.
Of the pitchers who have thrown a perfect game, only seven have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, adding a certain element of randomness to who throws perfectos.
Last perfect game
The most recent perfect game was thrown by Yankees starter Domingo German against the Athletics in Oakland on June 28, 2023.
Prior to German’s perfect game, the last perfect game thrown was by Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, twirling a perfecto vs. the Rays on Aug. 15, 2012. That was one of the longest gaps between perfect games in MLB history.
Which MLB team has thrown the most perfect games?
The Yankees have the most pitchers who have tossed a perfect game with four. German’s accomplishment in 2023 put him alongside the games from Don Larsen (1956), David Wells (1998) and David Cone (1999). Larsen’s, intriguingly enough, transpired during Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, a series that saw the Yankees crowned champions.
The White Sox used to be tied with New York with three apiece, but that deadlock has now been broken.
On the opposite spectrum, the Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers have each been on the wrong end of a perfect game three times in a tie for the most.
What is a perfect game in baseball?
A perfect game in baseball happens when a pitcher or pitchers win a baseball game by retiring all 27 opposing batters without allowing a single baserunner. That means no hits, no walks, no hitting by a pitch, and no mistakes by the catcher or fielders that let a batter get on base.
How many perfect games have been pitched?
In the 140+ year history of Major League Baseball, over 200,000+ games have been played, but only 24 perfect games have been pitched. The first perfect game was pitched on June 12th, 1880 by Lee Richmond at the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds in Worcester, Massachusetts. The most recent perfect game was pitched on June 28th, 2023 by Domingo Germán at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.
Other Major League Baseball perfect games statistics:
Of the 24 pitchers who have pitched a perfect game, 16 (64%) have been right-handed and 8 (33%) have been left handed. Interestingly, there’s a higher percentage of lefties in the perfect-game category than in the general population, where around 10% are lefties. Also, since 1988, 60% of the perfect games have been pitched by a left handed pitcher.
The ages of the pitchers who have pitched a perfect game range from 20 to 40, with the most perfect games pitched by pitchers aged 26 and 29, and throughout the mid to late twenties. However, some pitchers defy the odds – like Randy Johnson, who at age 40 pitched a perfect game with 13 strikeouts, the second-most strikeouts in a perfect game!
In regard to time of year, 16 (64%) of the perfect games were pitched in May, June, and July – the least common month to pitch a perfect game is August. The only perfect game MLB history that has been pitched in the World Series happened on October 8, 1956. It was pitched by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Where do most perfect games happen? 4 perfect games have been pitched in New York City – with three of those happening at Yankee Stadium. California also claims 4 perfect games.
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