Phil Humber’s Perfect Game: How Perfectly Rare
Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox has just tossed the 21st perfect game in Major League history, defeating the Seattle Mariners this afternoon, 4-0.
To put this extremely rare event into perspective, more people have orbited the moon than have thrown a complete perfect game, and no pitcher has ever thrown two of them.
Among the pitchers who never threw a perfect game are Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Carl Hubbell, Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden, Greg Maddux, and Pedro Martinez.
Twenty perfect games have been pitched during the regular season. Two perfect games were pitched in the 19th century, 14 were tossed in the entire 20th century, and now five have already been hurled in the 21st century.
Six pitchers who pitched a perfect game are currently in the Hall of Fame: Montgomery Ward, Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax and Catfish Hunter. At least two more pitchers — Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay — will eventually be enshrined as well.
Eight of the 21 perfect pitchers were left-handed: Lee Richmond, Tom Browning, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Dallas Braden, David Wells, Mark Buehrle, and Kenny Rogers.
The most common score of a perfect game has been 1-0. This has happened six times. The greatest amount of run support pitchers have received while tossing perfect games has been six runs. David Cone won 6-0 in 1999 while pitching for the Yankees, and Jim Bunning received six runs of support in 1964 while pitching against the Mets.
May has been the most common month for perfect games (7), while none have ever been pitched in the month of August.
Thirteen perfect games have been thrown by A.L. pitchers, while only eight N.L. pitchers have ever pitched one.
Here is a complete list of pitchers who have tossed a perfect game prior to Humber’s masterpiece today, as well as the date on which it was thrown, and the score of the game:
Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Marlins, 1-0
May 29, 2010
Oakland A’s vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 4-0
May 9, 2010
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 5-0
July 23, 2009
Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves, 2-0
May 18, 2004
New York Yankees vs. Montreal Expos, 6-0
July 18, 1999
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins, 4-0
May 17, 1998
Texas Rangers vs. California Angels, 4-0
July 28, 1994
Montreal Expos at Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0
July 28, 1991
Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 1-0
Sept. 16, 1988
California Angels at Texas Rangers, 1-0
Sept. 30, 1984
Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0
May 15, 1981
Oakland A’s vs. Minnesota Twins, 4-0
May 8, 1968
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs, 1-0
Sept. 9, 1965
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets, 6-0
June 21, 1964
New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers, 2-0
Oct. 8, 1956
Chicago at Detroit (AL), 2-0
April 30, 1922
Cleveland vs. Chicago (AL), 1-0
Oct. 2, 1908
Boston vs. Philadelphia (AL), 3-0
May 5, 1904
Prior to Modern Era
John Montgomery Ward
Providence vs. Buffalo (NL), 5-0
June 17, 1880
Worcester vs. Cleveland (NL), 1-0
June 12, 1880
They say nobody’s perfect, but 21 pitchers can say they have been perfect for a day. And that’s something no one can ever take away from them.