After suggesting Shelby Millerfor DFS and watching him come oh so close to a no-hitter, I wanted to look at the history of the pitcher and have found that there has been 23 Perfect games in all of the history of baseball. Some of these players you've probably heard of, but the majority of these players are relatively unknown to the casual fan. Without further ado, here is the list of all 23 pitchers.
23.) Lee Richmond- June 12th, 1880
He was the first pitcher ever to record a perfect game. He was on the Worchester Ruby Legs (some of these names absoutely kill me) and was a man among men. In 1880, Richmond was a 23 year old starter who started 66 games out of 83! That's absolutely insane and players back then never seemed to get hurt. Tommy John surgery is running rampant right now and these players start maybe 30 games a season, he started 66 and ended the 1880 season pitching in 74 games. These players back then were truly workhorses and absolutely studs.
22. Monte Ward- June 17th, 1880
Just 5 days after Lee Richmond managed this perfect game feat, Monte Ward accomplished it while pitching for the Providence Grays. Back then, pitchers would hit and there was not wussy Designated Hitter spot. Ward would go on to play 17 years in Major League Baseball and would accrue a 1.93 ERA in 5 seasons of pitching with the Grays. He only hit .246 as a batter but he was known more for his pitching anyways.
21. Cy Young- May 5th, 1904
This is the most prestigous pitcher in the history of baseball and is the most-honored pitching award handed out each year. Cy Young pitched his perfect game on May 5th, 1904 while a member of the Boston Americans. Why is this feat particularly good you ask? Young was 37 years old when he was able to accomplish the Perfect Game.
His career stats are as follows:
All-Time leader in wins- 511 games
All-Time leader in Complete games- 749
All-Time leader in innings pitched- 7,356
1892 Season with the Cleveland Spiders he ended the season with a 36-12 record and an astonishing 1.93 ERA. If you're talking about the greatest pitcher in baseball and you're not using the name Cy Young, you just don't know baseball.
20. Addie Joss- October 2nd, 1908
He was a member of the Cleveland Naps and their Ace as he finished the season with a 24-11 record and an astonishing 1.16 ERA. He pitched in 42 game, while starting 35 of them, and pitched 325 innings in the 1908 season. He tragically passed away at the age of 31 from tuberculous meningitis at the young age of 31 but he was a role model to many youth in the early 1900s.
19. Charlie Robertson- April 30th, 1922
Compared to a lot of pitchers on this list, he is a very average pitcher who got lucky with his perfect game. He was a member of the Chicago White Sox in 1922 and this was clearly his best season ever. He went 14-15 (losing record and best season? Exactly.) He ended his career with a horrible record of 49-80 with a monster 4.44 ERA.
18. Don Larsen- October 8th, 1956
This might be one of the most memorable perfect games ever. Why is that? His perfect game is the only one in postseason history. He threw his perfect game in game 5 of the World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
He's also another pitcher who had a lifetime record of 81-91 and a 3.78 ERA but he is known most for his perfect game.
17. Jim Bunning- June 21st, 1964
Bunning pitched for 17 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Coupled to his Perfect game, Bunning also threw a no-hitter in 1958 while playing for the Tigers. Here are some career highlights of his.
9x All Star
MLB Leader in Strikeouts in: 1959, 1960, 1967
Lead MLB in wins in 1957
He went into politics after baseball and served as a U.S. House Representative and U.S. Senator until 2011.
16. Sandy Koufax- September 9th, 1965
He is by far one of the best left-handers to ever play the game. I compare Clayton Kershaw to him and most people would probably agree.
Along with the perfect game, Koufax also had 3 no-hitters. His career accolades are as follows:
Cy Young winner x3
4 World Series Championships
2 World Series MVPs
Won pitching Triple Crown (lead in wins, strikeouts, ERA for a season) 3x
15. Catfish Hunter- May 8th, 1968
His perfect game game while he pitched for the Athletics. He was an 8x All-star, AL Cy Young winner in 1975, and won the World Series 5x.
14. Len Barker- May 15th, 1981
Barker ended his career with a 74-76 record and a bloated 4.34 ERA but threw MLB's 10th perfect game in his only All-Star season going 8-7 with a 3.91 ERA.
13. Tom Browning- September 16th, 1988
Talk about a rookie campaign for the ages. Browning broke out with the Cincinnati Reds in 1985 with a 20-9 record and a 3.55 ERA. He had 6 complete games, four of those being shut outs, and finished the season 6th in voting for the Cy Young and 2nd for Rookie of the Year. He was only an All-Star in the 1991 season.
He pitched a perfect game in 1988 and goes unnoticed in baseball lore.
12. Mike Witt- September 30th, 1984
Witt's perfect game came on the last day of the regular season in 1984. He struck out 10 batters in that game. He was a 6'7'' beast and became a strikeout machine. Think of a modern-day Chris Sale or Randy Johnson. He also made 2 All-Star appearances
11. Dennis Martinez- July 28th, 1991
Martinez had already pitched 14 seasons of so-so baseball before reaching the pinnacle of a perfect game. In those 14 seasons he played for the Baltimore Orioles and the Montreal Expos. It wasn't until he was 36 that he made his first All-Star game in 1990. He followed it up with back to back All-Star games the following two years. He had his best career year in 1991 with the Expos when he posted a 14-11 record and a 2.39 ERA to go along with 9 complete games, 5 shut outs and a perfect game all at the ripe age of 37.
10. Kenny Rogers- July 28th, 1994
The ball player, not the singer, played 20 years of Major League Baseball. 12 years of his career he played for the Texas Rangers and threw a perfect game in 1994. In 1995 he appeared in his first All-Star game and it took until the 2004 season for him to get his second all-star nod.
9. David Wells- May 17th, 1998
A member of the New York Yankees when he threw the perfect game. He played for 21 years in the majors with a majority of his career in Toronto for 8 seasons.
He threw his perfect game in 1998 at the age of 35. He ended the season with an 18-4 record and a 3.49 ERA. He finished third in Cy Young voting and the Yankees won the first of 3 consecutive World Series Titles.
And oh yeah, David Boomer Wells was hungover when he accomplished this feat.
8. David Cone- July 18th, 1999
David cone played for 17 seasons, made the All-Star game 5x, and won the AL Cy Young in 1994 while pitching for the Kansas City Royals. He ended his career as a 5x World Series Champion, 4 of those being with the New York Yankees.
Back to back Perfect Games came from teammates David Wells and then David Cone the following season. At the time of his Perfect Game, Cone was winding down his career as he was 36 years old but ended the season with a 12-9 record and a 3.44 ERA in 31 starts. He also finished this season with the Yankees 2nd consecutive World Series Title. They would go on to win the World Series in 2000 against the Mets as well.
7. Randy Johnson- May 18th, 2004
One of the most prolific left-handed pitchers to ever toe the rubber, Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson as a Hall of Famer after the first time he stepped on the mound.
He threw his perfect game with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team he won his only World Series with in 2001 against the New York Yankees. He would later join the Yankees before calling it quits in baseball.
To go along with his perfect game, in 1990 Johnson threw a no-hitter while a member of the Seattle Mariners in 1990.
He was a 5x Cy Young winner, 10x All Star, had 4,875 career strikeouts (2nd only behind Nolan Ryan) and most-notably destroyed a bird with a 100 mph fastball when it flew in front of him while he was pitching.
6. Mark Buehrle- July 23rd, 2009
He's still pitching in the Majors today with the Toronto Blue Jays, but in 2009 he threw his perfect game while a member of the Chicago White Sox. Buehrle has thrown at least 200 innings each season for 14 straight seasons. In 2007 he also threw a no-hitter.
If you remember correctly, Buehrle was able to obtain his Perfect Game after DeWayne Wise made an incredible catch at the wall. The White Sox then made an outline of Wise's body on the wall that stuck up there for quite a while.
5. Dallas Braden- May 9th, 2010
Not only does this guy have a great last name (mine!) he only played in 5 seasons with the Oakland Athletics before calling it a career and has since gone into broadcasting due to injuries.
He will be forever remembered for throwing a Perfect Game on Mother's Day in 2010 with his own mother in attendance.
He also had that infamous spat with Alex Rodriguez by claiming A-Rod disrespected him by crossing the mound after getting out.
4. Roy Halladay- May 29th, 2010
He was nicknamed "Doc" while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays. He also had a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.
Halladay was one of the most dominant pitchers in the AL East for over a decade and sadly had to retire in December 2013 of nagging back injuries that limited his time on the field towards the end.
To his credit, Doc won two Cy Young awards and appeared in 8 All-Star Games.
3. Philip Humber- April 21st, 2012
He had an all-around ugly career as he finished with a 16-23 record and a bloated 5.31 ERA in 8 seasons.
He threw his no hitter while a member of the Chicago White Sox in 2012 even going 5-5 and a 6.44 ERA that season. His last season (with the Astros) he started 7 games, went 0-8 in 17 games and a monster 7.90 ERA before calling it quits.
2. Matt Cain- June 13th, 2012
Cain has struggled to stay healthy lately, but in 2012 he went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA. Albeit, his perfect game came against a horrendous Houston Astros' offense. In that game, Cain struck out 14 while the Astros ended the season by going 55-107.
1. Felix Hernandez- August 15th, 2012
He is the "King" after all. He won a Cy Young in 2010 and is a 5x All-Star. He's one of the best pitchers today besides Clayton Kershaw. He is quite arguably the best American League pitcher and truly a godsend to the Seattle Mariners who were able to lock him up long term.
So there you have it, there's all 23 Perfect Games in MLB History. Who is your favorite? Who do you think will be the next pitcher to throw one, and when do you think that happens? Comment below with your answers!
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