21 Facts About the 21 Perfect Games in Major League Baseball History

Today, we witnessed some baseball history as Chicago White Sox pitcher, Philip Humber, threw the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history. As a Chicago White Sox fan, I feel a little spoiled now that I’ve witnessed two of these things in my lifetime, especially when you take into account that there have only been twenty-one of these things in the past 120 years. So that got me to thinking, how does Humber’s perfect game stack up against the rest? Here are 21 facts about the 21 perfect games in baseball history.

1. Lee Richmond – Worchester Ruby Legs (1880)

Ah, the great Lee Richmond and the Worchester Ruby Legs! The best fact about the first recorded perfect game in MLB history is the homeplate umpire’s first name was Foghorn.

2. John Montgomery Ward -Providence Grays (1880)

A mere five days later after Richmond recorded his perfect game, the human department store accomplished the feat as well. Ward, 20, is the youngest player to throw a perfecto.

3. Cy Young – Boston Red Sox (1904)

It’s not all that surprising Cy Young threw one perfect game in his career, considering he pitched about eleventy billion games. According to the box score, this is the quickest perfect game in history, with the game only lasting 1:25.

4. Addie Joss – Cleveland Naps (1908)

Of the 17 perfect games that had a pitch count documented, Joss was the most efficient one. He only threw 74 pitches, striking out only three Chicago White Sox hitters, which is the lowest amount of strikeouts in a perfect game history as well.

5. Charlie Robertson – Chicago White Sox (1922)

Until today, Charlie Robertston’s perfect game was the only one completed in the month of April.

6. Don Larsen – New York Yankees (1956)

I think we all know the special fact regarding this perfect game. In case you didn’t, it’s the only perfect game that was thrown in the World Series.

7. Jim Bunning – Philadelphia Phillies (1964)

This is the only perfect game that was a part of a doubleheader. It’s also the only perfect game thrown by a United States senator.

8. Sandy Koufax – Los Angeles Dodgers (1965) 

Sandy Koufax’s 14 strikeouts in this perfect game are the most in baseball history.

9. Catfish Hunter – Oakland A’s (1968)

Catfish Hunter was perfect, but nobody saw it! Hunter’s game was only seen by 6,298 people, easily the lowest recorded attendance in the modern era for a perfect game.

10 Len Barker – Cleveland Indians (1981) 

Barker’s perfect game was the first one that involved the designated hitter.

11. Mike Witt – California Angels (1984)

Mike Witt accomplished his perfecto in the nick of time. It’s the only perfect game/no-hitter that was thrown on the last day of the baseball season.

12. Tom Browning Cincinnati Reds (1988)

Tom Browning threw his perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won the World Series that season. That’s the only time a pitcher threw a perfect game to an eventual World Series champion. Browning also came close to throwing another perfect game, going 8 innings the following season before allowing a hit in the 9th inning to the Phillies.

13. Dennis Martinez – Montreal Expos (1991)

El Presidente was the first foreign-born player to toss a piece of perfection. Mike Morgan, who was pitching for the Dodgers, also went five perfect innings opposing Martinez, which is the latest an opposing pitcher has gone with their own personal run at perfection.

14. Kenny Rogers – Texas Rangers (1994)

If you remember this perfect game, you have to remember the sensational saving catch Rusty Greer made.

15. David Wells – New York Yankees (1998)

David Wells is the only player to throw a perfect game with a hangover. Way to set an example for everyone, Boomer!

16. David Cone – New York Yankees (1999)

David Cone threw his perfect game on Yogi Berra day, who caught Larsen’s gem in 1956. Also, with it being the Montreal Expos, it’s the only perfect game in interleague history.

17. Randy Johnson – Arizona Diamondbacks (2004)

At the age of 40, Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher ever to twirl a perfect game. The team he defeated, the Atlanta Braves, had the second-highest winning percentage (.593) that fell victims to perfection.

18. Mark Buehrle – Chicago White Sox (2009)

We all remember “The Catch” that was involved in Buehrle’s masterpiece. What you may not know is this is the only perfect game that featured a grand slam, which came from busted White Sox prospect Josh Fields.

19. Dallas Braden – Oakland A’s (2010)

Braden’s perfect game is the only one that was thrown on Mother’s Day. It also came against the best team in baseball at that given time, seeing as the Tampa Bay Rays had a record of 22-8.

20. Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies (2010)

Accompanied with his post-season no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, Roy Halladay is the only pitcher in baseball history to throw a perfect game and no-hitter in the same season.

21. Philip Humber – Chicago White Sox (2012)

I can’t confirm this, but I’m going to assume this is the only perfect game that ended on a dropped third strike.

There you have it, folks. This just proves you don’t have to be the best pitcher in the world to accomplish the feat, you just have to have that one special day where it all comes together. Perfect games are one of the many things that makes baseball so great. On any given day, we can witness something historic in the game of baseball, and that’s why it is so beautiful.

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