B-L Term of the Day: Perfect Game

Perfect Game

noun:  A perfect game is a complete game pitched without a runner reaching base either by hit, base-on-balls, or error. It’s one of the rarest feats in baseball and a subset of no-hitters.

(from Baseball-Reference.com)

Variances:  perfecto, perfie

This term is certainly relevant after Matt Cain pitched the first perfect game in San Francisco Giant history.  He did it in style striking out 14 Astros on his way to a 10-0 win.  Not only that, it was the second time the feat has occurred this season.  Pretty unlikely considering how rare such an event is in baseball history.  Only 22 perfect games have ever been pitched in Major League history.

As B-R’s definition states, the Perfect Game is indeed one of the rarest feats to accomplish by any player rivaled only by the unassisted triple play perhaps.  Baseball Reference has a comprehensive page of all perfect games in baseball history and yes, they have already updated it to include Cain’s gem.

Notable Notes on Perfect Games

  • don larsenI don’t need to remind any baseball fan of the most famous perfect game.  Of course, I’m talking about Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series effort in which he mowed down the Brooklyn Dodger.  Here’s the boxscore of the game that took place on October 8, 1956.  Take a look.  It feeds the soul just to look at it.
  • White Sox pitcher Charlie Robertson pitched a perfect game in 1922 in only his third start of his career.  He went on to pitch 8 years in a otherwise un-noteworthy career winning 49 games and losing 80.
  • It wasn’t until 1964 when the National League could make claim to a perfect game.  That was when future Senator and current Phillie ace Jim Bunning won the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets by retiring all 27 in a row.
  • Finally, this year isn’t the first year to have multiple perfect games.  That occurred just two years ago in 2010, the year of the no-hitter.  Six no-nos were pitched that year including perfect games by Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay.  Some analysts are wondering if we’re headed toward that same trend this year with four no-hitters already on the books and two them perfectos.

Of course, the term ‘perfect game’ isn’t relegated to baseball.  Independent of the baseball term, ‘perfect game’ is used in other sports.  Most popularly, it is used in the sport of bowling to refer to a game when the bowler reaches the highest score of 300.

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