In the world of baseball, a perfect game is a rare and extraordinary feat. It occurs when a starting pitcher faces the minimum number of batters in a game, which is 27, and none of them reach base. This means no hits, walks, hit batsmen, uncaught third strikes, catcher's or fielder's interference, or fielding errors that allow a batter to reach base.
The History of Perfect Games
The first major league perfect game was thrown in 1880 by Lee Richmond, followed closely by John Ward just five days later. Since then, over the 154 years of Major League Baseball history and over 235,500 games played, there have been only 24 official perfect games by the current definition. This makes it one of the rarest feats in baseball, with no pitcher ever achieving it more than once.
The Odds of a Perfect Game
Statistical modeling suggests that the occurrence of perfect games is extremely unlikely. Over the first 134 years of Major League Baseball history, the overall on-base percentage (OBP) has been approximately 0.3279, meaning that in about one-third of plate appearances, the batter reached base. Therefore, the probability of pitching a perfect game is (1-OBP)27, which is exceedingly small.