PERFECT GAMES, NO-HITTERS, and a MADDUX – Baseball Basics


Hey guys, welcome back to 90 Feet From
Home. I’m your host Ashley, and this week we’re going to talk about some specific
pitching accomplishments that you might hear about in baseball. So to start off
we’re going to talk about perfect games. So a perfect game is one of the hardest
pitching accomplishments to achieve. It basically means that a pitcher — or a
combination of pitchers, although to date there has never been a combined perfect
game — but that pitcher or combination of pitchers has to get through a complete
nine-inning game without allowing a single base runner. And now that means
there can be no hits, no walks, no hits by pitch, or no errors that would allow a
batter to get to base and become a base runner. In simplest terms it’s 27 up and
27 down, meaning every single batter that comes to the plate is put down in order.
And this can be accomplished either by strikeouts, or by fielding out to an
infielder or outfielder. So ground outs, fly outs, pop-ups, all of that applies as long
as the batter is out at the end of their at-bat. Now there’s a specific perfect
game that I want to mention just because it’s a little bit of a weird one. and yes
I am a Detroit Tigers fan so that is the reason I’m bringing it up. But it is kind
of an unusual one, and I think it’s good to know about, because in discussions of
perfect games it may be brought up. And that’s the Armando Galarraga’s perfect
game that was pitched in Detroit. And it is not officially a perfect game, on the
score it is a twenty-eight out game, so it’s sometimes referred to as a
twenty-eight out perfect game. Because what happened is in the last batter of
the ninth inning, a pitch was thrown to first base to beat out the runner who
had hit the ball, and Jim Joyce who was the first base umpire at the time ruled
that the batter was safe when he arrived at the bag. [Rod Allen voiceover] The guy we’ve been waiting for all night [Mario Impemba VO] Ground ball, right side.
Cabrera will cut it off Galarraga covers. He’s out! NO! He’s safe.
He is safe. He is safe at first base. And here comes Jim Leyland. Oh. My. Goodness. Everybody in the stadium knew he was
wrong. Everybody watching at home knew he was wrong. It was a very clearly an out,
but when this game was played video review plays weren’t allowed in baseball,
so they weren’t able to contest the ruling at first base, and the runner was
ruled safe meaning they had to go one more batter into the game, and got
the out, and the game was over. But his perfect game and his no-hitter were both
ruined in the process. Now the next day Jim Joyce came back to the stadium,
tearful, and admitted that he’d watched the tape after the fact and knew he’d
been wrong, and basically admitted that it was supposed to have been a perfect
game. But unfortunately there was nothing that could be done after the fact, as the
game was already in the books. So by all accounts Galarraga DID have a perfect
game, but on the record it’s a 28-out regular game. No no-hitter, no perfect
game, no accomplishments for Galarraga or the Tigers. It’s just a really
disappointing example of what happened prior to the ability to do those video
replays, because if that game were played today they would have been able to
contest that ruling at first base. They would have seen the video, it would have
shown the runner was out, and Galarraga’s perfect game would have been absolutely
intact. So a bit of a bummer, but that’s what happens. So to date there have been
23 perfect games thrown in MLB history, and that’s based on the present
weather-related rules that indicate if a game has to be called due to weather and
it’s a perfect game or a no-hitter going up to that point, it does not count
as a perfect game or a no-hitter even if no runs have scored and no runners have
been allowed to the plate. In order for a game to count as a perfect game, it must
go a complete nine innings. The last perfect game was thrown in 2012 by
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. So just below a perfect game is another
incredible pitching accomplishment referred to as a no-hitter, or sometimes
referred to as a no-no. A no-hitter is similar to a perfect game, but it is
slightly more forgiving in that while no hits are allowed, a batter may reach base
on a hit by pitch, a walk, or a fielder’s error, and the no-hitter will still
remain intact because no hits have literally been collected. So it is a
little bit easier to get a no-hitter, because there are those little loopholes.
Because a batter can still become a base runner based on walks or hit by pitch or
errors it is actually possible for a no-hitter
to have a score for the losing team, because that walked runner may
eventually cross home plate and score a run. Those same weather rules do apply
for a no-hitter. So a game cannot be qualified as a no-hitter unless it goes a
complete nine innings. And at present there is only one MLB team who has not
yet collected a no-hitter, and that is the San Diego Padres, and they’re going
on almost 50 years without having a single no-hitter pitched by any of their
staff. So by the modern weather-related rules there have been 299 no-hitters
thrown in MLB history. Last was in May of 2018 by Seattle Mariners pitcher James
Paxton [whispers] who is now in New York Yankee. And beneath a no-hitter in terms of pitching
accomplishments is something referred to as a shutout. Shutout games are a lot more
common, so I’m not going to count the number of them, but in order for a
pitcher — or a combination of pitchers — to collect a shutout game, the opposing team
cannot score a single run in the entire game. Meaning that their score would be
zero and the winning teams would be however many they’d run. But in order for
it to be qualified as a shutout, the opposing team can have scored no runs. And
last but not least is one of my favorites, and one that doesn’t come up
that often, and is not officially scored so it’s not like a no-hitter or a
perfect game where they keep track of them the same kind of way,
or where it’s a big big deal accomplishment. It’s more of kind of one
of those fun ones that baseball fans have made up on their own. It doesn’t
actually count for anything. And that’s a Maddux.
Now the Maddux is named after pitcher Greg Maddux, and that’s for good reason,
because he has collected 13 of these games in his career. It stands to reason
he would be the one who got the nod when it came to naming them. And for a pitcher
to collect a Maddux, they must pitch a complete game shutout —
can’t be combined, one pitcher has to do it all a complete game shutout in under
a hundred pitches. It is actually surprisingly hard to do, so it’s not that
frequent an accomplishment, but it is a very interesting one to watch out for. So
if you’re ever watching a game and a pitcher has gone late into the game,
seventh inning or so, and has a nice low pitch count, you can kind of start
keeping your eye out for a Maddux, because they are kind of fun to see
happen. And it is a pretty rare accomplishment for a pitcher to be able
to go through a complete game in fewer than 100 pitches. And so that is a
perfect game, a no-hitter, a shutout, and some of the cool pitching achievements
that can be accomplished in a pitcher’s career. So I hope you enjoyed this
episode. Please go down to the comments to leave a message if you found this
interesting, if maybe there are some other pitching terms that you’ve heard
that you found interesting and would like to know more about. Remember that
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much for coming out, this has been 90 Feet From Home Baseball Basics. and have
a wonderful day. Bye!

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