erik lundegaard

More Perfection

Jim Caple has a good piece on fans leaving the M's six-pitcher no-hitter before the final out last Friday night. Why would someone do that? he wondered. Don't they know what's going on? Don't they know this is the first no-hitter the Mariners have thrown since Chris Bosio's in 1993?

In their defense, these things are getting a little common. Another no hitter? Right. Wake me when someone throws a perfect game.

Someone should've woken me up last night.

With Matt Cain's perfecto against Houston, we've now had two perfect games this year. The decade isn't even three years old and we've had four thus far. That's as good as the 1990s, which is the most perfect games any decade has seen.

Perfect games used to be as rare as perfection. Now they're as common as Wil Ferrell movies.

MLB perfect games by decade

I don't include the two from the 1880s, when fouls caught on a bounce were considered outs. That history is too old.

So there are now 20 perfect games in modern history: Four before expansion in 1961; 16 since.

I became a true baseball fan around 1970, when I was 7, and started paying attention to stats when I was about 8, probably because of the hoopla in Minnesota surrounding Harmon Killebrew's 500th homerun. I knew back then, as surely as I knew the numbers 714 and .367, that the last perfect game was thrown against my Twins, in 1968, by the A's Catfish Hunter. I kept waiting for the next one, to wash away this info, but no one threw a perfect game in the 1970s. It was our last decade without one.

Since then, these are the number of perfect games by decade: 3, 4, 2 and 4. And this decade would've had 5 if not for Jim Joyce's blown call. And we're only two and a half years into it.

What does this mean? What's going on? My friend Tim asked that on Facebook. “Is this steroid-era hangover?” he wondered. “Payback's a bitch,” his friend Matt replied.

The highlights of Cain's perfecto are fun. David Schoenfield has a good article here but I don't agree with him on “greatest catch ever” for Gregor Blanco's in the top of the 7th. Helluva catch. Beautiful catch. But I still give it to DeWayne Wise in the top of the 9th in Chicago three years ago. And by that I mean greatest catch ever in a perfect game. I woudn't presume to talk about “all time” here. Not at least without thinking about it for five minutes.

Anyway, congratulations to Matt Cain, Gregor Blanco and the San Francisco Giants. And congratulations to me, too. In the 1970s, I had to wait 13 years before the albatross of “last perfect game thrown” was removed from around my team's neck. This time I had to wait less than two months. There's something to be said for so much perfection.

Matt Cain, perfect game


Posted at 08:42 AM on Thu. Jun 14, 2012 in category Baseball  
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COMMENTS

Steve Manes wrote:

Those of us from Pittsburgh fondly recall the one that got away: Harvey “The Kitten” Haddix's 1959 12-inning masterpiece against the Milwaukee Braves, spoiled by a Don Hoak error in the 13th and some Mathews/Aaron/Adcock whup-ass thereafter.

And as in horseshoes, close doesn't count., so this game's not in the chart. And since I was not in Milwaukee in those days, I didn't see it.

But I did see that 6-pitcher M's no-hitter. In person. What a game!

And I still find it nutty that the same umpiring crew evidently ran that game and this year's two perfectos.

Comment posted on Thu. Jun 14, 2012 at 05:20 PM

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