Posts Tagged ‘perfect games’

Perfect Pitchers Get All The Glory, While Their Catchers Get None

On the heels of yesterday’s post about Felix Cespedes’s near-perfect game, I got an email from a fellow writer that made me do some thinking about perfect games.  One of the things I found myself wondering: who were the catchers for each of the eighteen perfect games in major league history?

This list is taken from the Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers and fact-checked against Baseball-Reference.com when possible.

1. Lee Richmond (June 12, 1880) – Charlie Bennett
2. Monte Ward (June 17, 1880) – Emil Gross
3. Cy Young (May 5, 1904) – Lou Criger
4. Addie Joss (October 2, 1908) – Nig Clarke
5. Charlie Robertson (April 30, 1922) – Ray Schalk
6. Don Larsen (October 8, 1956) – Yogi Berra
7. Jim Bunning (June 21, 1964) – Gus Triandos
8. Sandy Koufax (September 9, 1965) – Jeff Torborg
9. Catfish Hunter (May 8, 1968) – Jim Pagliaroni
10. Len Barker (May 15, 1981) – Ron Hassey
11. Mike Witt (September 30, 1984) – Bob Boone
12. Tom Browning (September 16, 1988) – Jeff Reed
13. Dennis Martinez (July 28, 1991) – Ron Hassey
14. Kenny Rogers (July 28, 1994) – Ivan Rodriguez
15. David Wells (May 17, 1998) – Jorge Posada
16. David Cone (July 18, 1999) – Joe Girardi
17. Randy Johnson (May 18, 2004) – Robby Hammock
18. Mark Buehrle (July 23, 2009) – Ramon Castro

Look closely and you’ll notice something interesting: seven Hall of Famers (I’m counting Johnson in that group) have pitched perfect games; three Hall of Famers (I’m counting Rodriguez, but not Posada) have caught perfect games. No Hall of Fame catcher, however, has ever caught a perfect game pitched by a Hall of Fame pitcher.

And then there’s Ron Hassey. Catching one perfecto is cool; catching two is off the charts, especially when you realize he was only behind the plate for five more games (plus four appearances as a pinch-hitter) after Martinez’s gem.

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Mr. Perfect

Well, let’s add Brandon Hynick to the list of players who have achieved awesomeness in 2009.

Hynick pitched a seven-inning perfect game for Colorado Springs yesterday, the ninth in Pacific Coast League history and the first since 2007.  (The game story referenced eight perfect games.  I don’t think they’re including the combined effort by three Portland pitchers in 2006.)  He struck out six in winning his seventh game of the season.

The all-time list of no-hit games in the PCL can be found here (who the hell is Tom Drees and how did he pitch three no-hitters in 1989?).  I’ve pulled the perfect games and listed them below for easier reference.

May 31, 1943 – Cotton Pippen, Oakland (7 innings)
May 16, 1948 – Kewpie Dick Barrett, Seattle (7 innings)
September 12, 1954 – Roger Bowman, Hollywood (7 innings)
May 19, 1975 – Gary Ross, Hawaii (5 innings)
July 7, 2001 – John Halama, Tacoma (9 innings)
May 7, 2003 – John Wasdin, Nashville (9 innings)
June 9, 2006 – Ryan Meaux, Cla Meredith, Aquilino Lopez; Portland (7 innings)
June 25, 2007 – Manny Parra, Nashville (9 innings)
June 30, 2009 – Brandon Hynick, Colorado Springs (7 innings)

Not a ridiculously bad list.  The first four are unknowns, Halama and Wasdin were established major leaguers, and Parra was an up-and-coming prospect.  Where Hynick will end up is anyone’s guess.

Jeanmar Gomez Pitches Perfect Game, Owes Matt McBride A Nice Steak Dinner

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Coming into the 2009 season, Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Jeanmar Gomez had compiled a 20-19 career record in three seasons.  His highest level reached was A+ Kinston, where in 2008 he went 5-9 with a 4.55 ERA in 27 starts.

After starting this season with a 2-2, 2.63 in four starts for Kinston, the 20-year-old Gomez earned his first in-season promotion, making the leap to Cleveland’s AA affiliate in Akron.  In his brief time with the Aeros, he has been nearly unhittable, allowing nine hits in 29 innings.  Throw in the 4-0 record, 0.31 ERA, and 26 strikeouts, and you’ve got a guy who undoubtedly looks forward to heading over to the ballpark every day.

And that’s without even mentioning his last start, a nine inning perfect game against Trenton on Thursday afternoon.

Gomez, needless to say, was pretty darn good, striking out eight to win his fourth straight start.  According to the game story, he tore through the lineup with the greatest of ease, with the only close call coming in the ninth inning.  Leadoff hitter Kevin Smith lined a pitch to left field, but Matt McBride saved the gem with a diving catch.

Is Gomez a hot prospect for the Tribe or a flash in the pan who will eventually come back down to earth (ahem: the Z-Meter awaits)?  Only time will tell.  At least now, however, he has a memorable experience on his resume, regardless of whether or not he makes it to the majors.

Photo: Akron Aeros