Pitching a perfect game in Major League Baseball is extraordinarily difficult and uncommon. Very few pitchers manage to accomplish this impressive feat! In this article, using the Tableau baseball dashboard below and stats from Major League Baseball’s perfect games, I will provide statistics that will help you visualize and understand perfect games on a deeper level. But for starters, let’s run through some of the most common questions about this rare phenomenon:
A perfect game in baseball happens when a pitcher or a group of pitchers wins a baseball game by pitching a minimum of 9 innings without allowing a player from the opposing team to get on base.
In the 140+ year history of Major League Baseball, over 200,000+ games have been played, but only 23 perfect games have been pitched. The first perfect game was pitched on June 12th, 1880 by Lee Richmond at the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds in Worcester, Massachusetts. The most recent perfect game was pitched on August 15th, 2012 by Félix Hernández at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.
Now that you know the basics, click or tap on the interactive Tableau visualization below for a more in-depth understanding of Major League Baseball perfect games:
Of the 23 pitchers who have pitched a perfect game, 15 (65%) have been right-handed and 8 (35%) have been left handed. Interestingly, there’s a higher percentage of lefties in the perfect-game category than in the general population, where around 10% are lefties. Also, since 1988, 60% of the perfect games have been pitched by a left handed pitcher.
The ages of the pitchers who have pitched a perfect game range from 20 to 40, with the most perfect games pitched by pitchers aged 26 and 29, and throughout the mid to late twenties. However, some pitchers defy the odds – like Randy Johnson, who at age 40 pitched a perfect game with 13 strikeouts, the second-most strikeouts in a perfect game!
In regard to time of year, 15 (65%) of the perfect games were pitched in May, June, and July – the least common month to pitch a perfect game is August. The only perfect game MLB history that has been pitched in the World Series happened on October 8, 1956. It was pitched by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Location is an interesting element of baseball perfect games. A majority of them – 4 – happened in New York City (3 in the Bronx, and 1 in Queens).