Perfect Games In The Modern Era
Hernandez pitched the Seattle Mariners' first perfect game and the 23rd in baseball history, overpowering the Tampa Bay Rays in a brilliant 1-0 victory. The Mariners' ace and former AL Cy Young Award winner has long talked of his desire to achieve pitching perfection. He finally accomplished it against the Rays, striking out the side twice and finishing with 12 strikeouts. It was the third perfect game in the 2012 MLB season.
Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in major league history and first for the Giants. He tied the record for most strikeouts in a perfect game (held by Sandy Koufax) by punching out a career-high 14. Cain, who threw 125 pitches, also got help from outfielders Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco, who made feat-saving catches.
Philip Humber threw the first perfect game in almost two years, striking out nine for his first win of the season. It was the third perfecto in White Sox history, joining Mark Buehrle (Tampa Bay in 2009) and Charles Robertson (Detroit in 1922). Humber, a former first-round draft pick of the Mets who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2005, needed only 96 pitches to complete the gem.
Roy Halladay produced his signature performance as a Phillie, striking out 11 Marlins and notching the 20th perfect game in MLB history. Florida catcher Ronny Paulino made the 27th and final out, grounding to third base, clinching one of the most historic achievements in Philadelphia sports history.
Braden was perfect on Mother's Day, recording the first perfect game for Oakland in 42 years. He was also the beneficiary of some flashy glovework, courtesy of Kevin Kouzmanoff, who sprinted to the dirt in front of Oakland's dugout to catch a foul popup by Dioner Navarro for the second out in the sixth.
Buehrle, who struck out six, received significant help from center fielder Dewayne Wise, who made a tremendous leaping catch to deprive Gabe Kapler of a ninth-inning home run and save the gem. After the game, he received a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama, whose support of the White Sox is well-known.
Johnson had pretty much done it all -- Cy Young Awards, a no-hitter, strikeout records, a World Series championship. Only one thing was missing in his brilliant career, that rarest of pitching feats. At the ripe ol' age of 40, the Big Unit took care of that, too. He struck out 13 in outdueling Mike Hampton, who also tossed a complete game.
Cone was simply perfect on a day when perfection was in attendance. The original battery of the 1956 World Series perfect game (Larsen, Berra) were on hand as it was Yogi Berra Day in Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter and Ricky Ledee homered and Cone struck out 10.
Billy Crystal walked into the clubhouse after the game, approached David Wells and said, "I got here late, what happened?" What happened was nothing short of spectacular as Wells improved to 5-1, striking out 11. Bernie Williams went 3-for-3, including a homer, and scored three runs.
The Rangers converted Rogers to a starter the previous season and he took the mound with a 10-6 record before tossing his gem. Jose Canseco and Ivan Rodriguez supplied the firepower, accounting for three home runs.
The winningest Hispanic pitcher in the history of major league baseball topped off his career with a perfect game against the first-place Dodgers, outdueling Mike Morgan. Larry Walker homered for the Expos.
Browning made history by becoming the first Red to throw a perfect game. Browning threw 72 of his 102 pitches for strikes and didn't run the count to three balls on a single batter. Just over three months eariler, Browning had another no-hitter broken up by a Tony Gwynn single with one out in the ninth -- the only hit he would allow.
Witt struck out 10 in a game that took just 1:49 to complete. Fred Lynn and Doug DeCinces each contributed two hits and designated hitter Reggie Jackson drove in the game's only run in the top of the seventh.
The Big Donkey, as he was called by his manager, threw a brutal slider and a blazing fastball on a chilly (49 degree) night. Barker improved to 3-1 after fanning 11 and Jorge Orta collected three hits, including an eighth-inning homer.
Hunter, who never spent a day in the minor leagues, tossed the fourth perfect game in American League history. Hunter struck out 11 and was also productive at the plate, going 3-for-4 and driving in three runs. Bert Campaneris and Rick Monday added two hits.
The most dominant pitcher of the '60s already had three no-hitters under his belt. But his fourth and final no-hitter turned out to be the best of his career. The Dodgers parlayed one hit to victory -- which set a record for least amount of hits during a nine-inning game by both teams. He struck out Harvey Kuenn to end the game. Koufax also retired Kuenn for the final out of his 1963 no-hitter.
Bunning, a father of seven children at the time, pitched the best game of his career on the best day he could imagine -- Father's Day. Bunning, who tossed 90 pitches, 79 for strikes, drove in two and struck out 10. After the game, he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Larsen's gem remains the only perfect game thrown in the postseason (Game 5 of '56 World Series between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers). Mickey Mantle homered in the fourth inning to give Larsen, who fanned seven, all the support he'd need.
Robertson, in just his second major-league start, kept the likes of Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann off the basepaths. The Tigers complained that Robertson was doctoring the ball throughout the game. After the game, the Tigers sent several game used balls to the American League President Ban Johnson, who found no trace of tampering.
Joss improved to 24-11 after outdueling Ed Walsh (39-15). The Cleveland Indians were called the Naps during this time frame because their manager was none other than Hall of Famer Larry "Nap" Lajoie who managed while playing second base.
Pre-1900 Perfect Games (not pictured): Monte Ward - June 17, 1880 (Providence Grays 5, Buffalo Bisons 0) Lee Richmond - June 12, 1880 (Worcester Ruby Legs 1, Cleveland Blues 0) Young's perfect game was part of a streak of 23 consecutive no-hit innings over four appearances. Connie Mack commented this was the most impressive game ever pitched.