Two New York Yankees pitchers came oh so close to perfection this week.
Jameson Taillon retired the first 21 Los Angeles Angels hitters he faced on Thursday night. But Jared Walsh ended the former No. 2 overall pick’s bid at history when he led off the eighth inning with a double up the middle that shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa couldn’t come up with.
The following night, ace Gerrit Cole nearly matched Taillon’s feat. Cole sat down the first 20 Detroit Tigers batters he faced before Jonathan Schoop singled up the middle past a diving DJ LeMahieu with two outs in the seventh.
The Yankees became the first team in the expansion era (since 1961) to carry a perfecto beyond the sixth inning in back-to-back games. But, while they made some history, Cole and Taillon failed to end a near-decade-long drought in Major League Baseball…
When was the most recent perfect game in MLB?
King Felix last pitched in 2019, but he still owns MLB’s most recent perfect game. On Aug. 15, 2012, Felix Hernandez tossed a perfecto against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 2010 AL Cy Young winner struck out 12, including the final batter, to record the first perfect game in Seattle Mariners history.
Hernandez’s outing was actually the last of three perfect games in the 2012 season. Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants (vs. Houston on June 13) and Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox (vs. Seattle on April 21) also threw perfectos that season. Hernandez, Cain and Humber combined for the most perfect games ever in the same season, topping the previous record of two.
How many perfect games have there been in MLB history?
There have been 23 perfect games in MLB history, with the first two coming just days apart all the way back in 1880 courtesy of Lee Richmond and John Ward. Twenty-one perfect games have occurred in the modern era (since 1900) and 17 have come within the last 60 years.
For context, Angels rookie Reid Detmers’ no-hitter last month was the 316th no-no in MLB history, showing just how difficult perfection is to achieve for a pitcher.
MLB is currently in the midst of the longest perfecto-less droughts in the modern era. There have been just three other times over that span where at least nine years went by without one happening.
Has an MLB pitcher ever thrown two perfect games?
MLB’s 23 perfect games were thrown by 23 different pitchers, meaning no player has ever recorded more than one and there has never been a combined perfecto.
The Yankees and White Sox are tied for the most perfect games with three apiece. Meanwhile, the Rays, who were founded in 1998, and Dodgers have each been on the wrong side of a perfect game three times, the most of any team.
Here’s a look at all the perfect games in MLB history:
Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 2012: vs. Rays
Matt Cain, Giants: 2012 vs. Astros
Philip Humber, White Sox: 2012 vs. Mariners
Roy Halladay, Phillies: 2010 vs. Marlins
Dallas Braden, A’s: 2010 vs. Rays
Mark Buehrle, White Sox: 2009 vs. Rays
Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks: 2004 vs. Braves
David Cone, Yankees: 1999 vs. Montreal Expos
David Wells, Yankees: 1998 vs. Twins
Kenny Rogers, Rangers: 1994 vs. Angels
Dennis Martinez, Montreal Expos: 1991 vs. Dodgers
Tom Browning, Reds: 1988 vs. Dodgers
Mike Witt, Angels: 1984 vs. Rangers
Len Baker, Cleveland: 1981 vs. Blue Jays
Catfish Hunter, A’s: 1968 vs. Twins
Sandy Koufax, Dodgers: 1965 vs. Cubs
Jim Bunning, Phillies: 1964 vs. Mets
Don Larsen, Yankees: 1956 World Series vs. Dodgers
Charlie Roberston, White Sox: 1922 vs. Tigers
Addie Joss, Cleveland: 1908 vs. White Sox
Cy Young, Boston: 1904 vs. A’s
John Ward, Providence Grays: 1880 vs. Buffalo Bisons
Lee Richmond, Worcester Ruby Legs: 1880 vs. Cleveland Blues