All you need to know about how many perfect games have there been in the MLB history as Cubs pitchers came very close to doing it.
There have been 23 official perfect games in the 140-year history of Major League Baseball, with over 235,500 games played. Nobody has ever thrown more than one pitch. Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series is the only postseason-perfect game in major league history, as well as one of only three postseason no-hitters. The first two major league perfect games, as well as the only two of the premodern era, were thrown five days apart in 1880.
Since 1981, the number of perfect games has increased significantly. Fourteen perfect games were thrown in the 40 seasons from 1980 to 2019, compared to only nine in the previous 100-plus seasons. There were three perfect games in 2012; the only other year in the modern era with more than two was 2010.
In comparison, there have been stretches of 23 and 33 consecutive seasons without a perfect game. Despite the fact that two perfect-game bids have gone into extra innings, no extra-inning game has ever been completed flawlessly.
The most recent perfect game pitcher was Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners, who threw the 23rd perfect game in MLB history (and the first in August) against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. This was the first perfect game in Mariners history, as well as the franchise’s fourth no-hitter; it also made 2012 the first and only MLB season to feature three perfect games.
Hernandez’s game featured 12 strikeouts and a career-high 26 swinging strikes. In an on-field interview immediately following the last out, Hernandez stated that he began thinking about a perfect game in the second inning. Tampa Bay was on the wrong end of a perfect game for the third time in the last four seasons.
What is a perfect game in MLB?
A perfect game in baseball is one in which one or more pitchers complete at least nine innings with no batter from the opposing team reaching base. A team must not allow any opposing player to reach base by any means: no hits, walks, hit batsmen, uncaught third strikes, catcher’s or fielder’s interference, or fielding errors; in short, “27 up, 27 down” (for a nine-inning game).
A perfect game is, by definition, a no-hitter, a victory, and a shutout. A fielding error, such as a misplayed foul ball, that prevents a batter from reaching base does not ruin a perfect game.
Perfect games do not include games that last less than nine innings, regardless of cause, and in which a team has no baserunners. Perfect games do not include games in which a team reaches first base only in extra innings.
The term “perfect game” was first used in 1908, and its current definition was formalized in 1991. Although several pitchers can work together to throw a perfect game (which has happened 19 times in MLB no-hitters), every MLB perfect game has been thrown by a single pitcher. The 2007 Japan Series of Nippon Professional Baseball ended with a combined perfect game.
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