Sunday, May 9, 2010

Braden is Perfect, Not You Jebson

Today Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in the history of major league baseball. Braden threw 109 pitches and struck out 6 to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 and join one of the most elite clubs in baseball. More people have orbited the moon than have pitched a perfect game.

Just how elite is this club? Since 1880 only 19 pitchers (including Braden) have accomplished the feat. Think about that. Tens of thousands of games have been played in that time period and this has only happened 19 times. That averages out to 1 perfect game every 6.84 years or 1 perfect game every 11,000 baseball games.

Before this game Braden was best known for his feud with Alex Rodriguez. Earlier in the season Braden got mad at A-rod for walking across the mound after an inning ended. A-rod's response to this was, "win a few more games and then you can talk." I'm pretty sure he has earned the right to saw whatever he wants now.

And what better day then today. It was only 365 days that Braden was put on the disabled list after being hit by a Vernon Wells line drive. It is also a special day in Braden's life because of the role both his mother and his grandmother played in his life. His mother died when he was a senior in high school and so his grandmother took care of him. He credits both women with his success now and had an emotional moment on the field today with his grandmother who was in attendance.

This was truly a monumental day for Braden and for MLB.

You know who didn't think it was that big a deal? TSN. When Sportscenter aired after the Suns/Spurs game the lead story was about Tiger Woods and how he withdrew from a PGA event because of a sore back. That story was then followed by playoff hockey and then the Jays game. They didn't even start their baseball coverage with the perfect game. This proves once and for all TSN is a shitty sports network.

Now here are some fun facts about Perfect Games that really show off my Wikipedia skills:

- The largest crowd to ever witness a perfect game - 64,519 watch Don Larson throw a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series

- The smallest crowd to witness a perfect game - 700 people saw Lee Richmond pitch the first perfect game ever in 1880

- Fewest strikeouts in a perfect game - both Cy Young (1904) and Addie Jones (1908) struck out only 3 of the 27 batters they faced when they threw their perfect games

- Fewest pitches thrown in a perfect game - Addie Jones needed only 74 pitches to accomplish the feat in 1908, that averages out to 2.7 pitchers per batter

- Most pitches thrown in a complete game - 120 by David Wells in 1998 which equals 4.4 pitches per batter

- 9 perfect games have been broken up by the 27th aka the last batter of the game with the most recent coming in 2001 when Mike Mussina lost his perfect game when he gave up a 2-strike single to Carl Everett

- The shortest span of time between perfect games - 291 days between Braden's perfect game today and the perfect game thrown by Mark Beuhrle on July 23rd, 2009

- In 1968 Catfish Hunter not only threw a perfect game but also went 3-4 at the plate and knocked in the first and thus winning run

- Oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game - Randy Johnson was 40 years 256 days old when he threw a perfect game for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004

- The youngest pitcher to throw a perfect game - John Montgomery Morris was 20 years, 105 days old when he did it in 1880

- David Cone's perfect game in 1999 was the only perfect game thrown during Interleague Play

- The team with the most perfect games is the Yankees who have 3 (Larson, Cone and Wells). The Indians (Joss and Len Barker), White Sox (Beuhrle and Charlie Robertson) and A's (Hunter and Braden) are tied for 2nd with two perfect games

- The only non-American to throw a perfect game is Dennis Martinez who accomplished the feat in 1991 for the Montreal Expos

Random YouTube Video

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