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Perfect game

In baseball, a perfect game occurs when a pitcher throws a complete game without allowing a hit, walk, error, hit batter, or any other baserunners. Since the pitcher cannot control whether or not his teammates commit any errors, to pitch a perfect game, the pitcher must be backed up by a lineup of solid defenders.

A perfect game is considered to be the pinnacle of pitching performance and is one of the most difficult achievements in baseball or any sport. It is the masterpiece of a pitcher's career and in Major League Baseball places one in elite company. Over the past 120 years, there have only been 16 perfect games:

Major League Baseball perfect games

Lee Richmond Worchester vs. Cleveland June 12, 1880
Monte Ward Providence vs. Buffalo June 17, 1880
Cy Young Boston vs. Philadelphia May 5, 1904
Addie Joss Cleveland vs. Chicago October 2, 1908
Charlie Robertson Chicago at Detroit April 30, 1922
Don Larsen New York vs. Brooklyn October 8, 1956
Jim Bunning Philadelphia at New York June 21, 1964
Sandy Koufax Los Angeles vs. Chicago September 9, 1965
Catfish Hunter Oakland vs. Minnesota May 8, 1968
Len Barker Cleveland vs. Toronto May 15, 1981
Mike Witt California at Texas September 30, 1984
Tom Browning Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles September 16, 1988
Dennis Martinez Montreal at Los Angeles July 28, 1991
Kenny Rogers Texas vs. California July 28, 1994
David Wells New York vs. Minnesota May 17, 1998
David Cone New York vs. Montreal July 18, 1999

Larsen pitched the first and only post-season no-hitter/perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.

Almost and sort of perfect games

On June 23, 1917, Babe Ruth walked the first batter in a game against the Washington Senators. Ruth was so enraged with the calls made by umpire Brick Owens, that Ruth punched Owens in the face and was ejected. Ernie Shore came in to replace Ruth. The runner on first was caught stealing, and Shore proceeded to retire the next 26 batters. All 27 outs were made while Shore was on the mound.

On May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates carried a perfect game through an amazing twelve innings against the Milwaukee Braves only to have it broken up with an error in the 13th inning.

On June 3, 1995, Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos had a had a perfect game through nine innings against the San Diego Padres. In the 10th inning, he gave up a leadoff double to Bip Roberts.

Four other "perfect games" are unofficial because the games ended before nine innings were completed.