In the world of sports, few achievements are as elusive and revered as a perfect game in baseball. This rare feat is defined by a complete game pitched without a single runner reaching base, either by hit, base-on-balls, or error. Over the 154 years of Major League Baseball (MLB) history, with over 238,500 games played, there have been only 24 official perfect games by the current definition.
The Rarity of Perfect Games
The first major league perfect game was thrown in 1880 by Lee Richmond, and only five days later, John Ward threw the second one. However, despite the surprising run of five perfect games in three seasons from 2010-12, no pitcher has ever thrown more than one perfect game. This rarity makes it an achievement that stands out in a player's career, regardless of whether they are All-Stars or career journeymen pitchers.
The New York Yankees: The Kings of Perfection
When it comes to the team with the most perfect games, the New York Yankees stand atop the leaderboard. The Yankees have had four players achieve this historic feat, breaking a tie with the Chicago White Sox for the most perfect games by any team. This includes Don Larsen, who famously pitched the first perfect game in the World Series in 1956.
Other notable Yankees who have achieved this feat include David Wells, who accomplished it on May 17, 1998, against the Minnesota Twins, and David Cone, who added his name to the record book with the first-ever perfect game thrown during interleague play against the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999.
Other Teams with Multiple Perfect Games
While the Yankees lead the pack, other teams have also seen multiple perfect games. The Chicago White Sox have had three perfect games, including the first-ever by a White Sox pitcher, Charlie Robertson, on April 30, 1922, against the Detroit Tigers.
The Cleveland Guardians (formerly known as the Cleveland Bluebirds/Cleveland Naps/Cleveland Indians), Philadelphia Phillies (formerly known as the Philadelphia Quakers), and Oakland Athletics (formerly known as the Kansas City Athletics/Philadelphia Athletics) have each had two perfect games.
The Flip Side of Perfection
On the flip side, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays have each had perfect games thrown against them an all-time high of three times. The Seattle Mariners hold the unique distinction of having a player pitch a perfect game for them and another throw one against them in the same season, which occurred in 2012.