Saturday, May 29, 2010

20 Games Later Another Perfect Game

Roy Halladay of the Phillies threw the 20th perfect game in Major League history tonight:

Halladay throws perfect game, beats Marlins 1-0

Just 20 days after Dallas Braden threw the 19th, setting a new record for the briefest time between perfectos in the modern era, beating out the 290 days between Buehrle's and Braden's.

Notice the disclaimer "modern era". The first two perfect games came just 5 days apart in 1880. Rookie Lee Richmond threw the first one on June 12 for the Worcester Ruby Legs defeating the Cleveland Blues. John Montgomery Ward threw the second one on June 17 for the Providence Grays over the Buffalo Bisons. Ward, incidentally, would play most of his career as an infielder.

The "modern era" of baseball is generally defined as since 1900 as the rules of the game have been fundamentally the same since then. In 1880, a walk was 8 balls instead of 4, the mound was 50 feet from home plate instead of 60 feet 6 inches, a hit batsman was not awarded first base, foul bunts weren't strikes, and an out could be recorded if a fielder "caught" a foul ball on one bounce.

Halladay's is only the 7th perfect game to be thrown at night. Now, you might say, lights haven't been around forever. True, but there have been 11 perfect games since 1980. A vast majority of games played since 1980 have been played at night. I don't know the exact percentage, but it's pretty damn high. Yet, 6 of those 11 perfectos have been day games. The majority of them.

Halladay went to a 3 ball count 7 times in the game, twice in the first inning.

It's the first perfect game thrown against the Marlins.

It's the second perfect game thrown by the Phillies. Jim Bunning threw one on Father's Day in 1964.

It's the first perfect game in the National League since Randy Johnson's in 2004, and just the 6th overall.

Read more interesting tid-bits of perfect game trivia in my previous post Perfection Shorts.

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