MLB History: Baseball’s Ultimate Pitching Feat

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DSC04443_18th_Perfect_Game_in_Major_League_Baseball_HistoryMajor League Baseball is an historic game that is forever joined to its record books. Perhaps no other sport so highly prizes outstanding performances and achievements, to the extent that many past baseball seasons are remembered more today for the records players set than for the team that won the World Series!

Among all single-game baseball feats, perhaps none is as highly valued as the perfect game. As the name would suggest, a perfect game is difficult to achieve—it requires a pitcher to throw an entire game without allowing any hits, walks, or any opposing player to reach a base for any other reason. (In theory, multiple pitchers could combine to throw a perfect game, but this has never occurred.) Only 23 players have thrown perfect games in MLB history—here are the inside stories of a few:

-As inspiration to any 30-something still hoping to make an impact in the major leagues, we present to you Randy Johnson! Johnson threw a perfect game for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Atlanta Braves on May 18, 2004. Johnson achieved many noteworthy feats in his MLB career, but the most amazing part of this perfect game was that Johnson was 40 years old at the time. Thus he is the oldest player in MLB history ever to throw a perfect game!

-This is the only entry on this list that does not qualify as a perfect game, but it is hard to overlook the performance of Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga against the Cleveland Indians on June 2, 2010. Galarraga had retired the first 26 batters of the game on an astonishingly low total of 82 pitches, until controversy struck. With two outs in the ninth inning, the Indians’ Jason Donald was ruled safe on first base by umpire Jim Joyce, even though replays clearly showed the pitching beating Donald to the base.

“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” a remorseful Joyce rued afterward. The sportsmanship shown by both Joyce and Galarraga in the aftermath of the blown call earned widespread praise throughout the league and media.

-MLB’s most recent perfect game was thrown by the Seattle Mariners’ star Felix Hernandez, who notched up 12 strikeouts while retiring all 27 batters in a 1-0 Mariners victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on August 15, 2012. One noteworthy feature of the game—as the Mariners had been the victim of a perfect game by Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber earlier in the 2012 season, the Mariners became the first team in MLB history to be on both sides of a perfect game in the same season!

We can’t always take pitches from a perfect game pitcher when taking batting practice. But it’s easy to practice without having to chase the ball—find out more about the pitching machines on offer from Wheelhouse Batting Cages today!