Coming into the 2010 season, there had been a total of 18 perfect games thrown in Major League Baseball history. That’s not just the modern history, either–we’re talking back to the days of Lee Richmond pitching for the Worcester Rubylegs back in 1880–a total of 18 games, out of probably some 350,000+ games played (no idea if that number is right, but my quick guesstimation put it at about 300,000).
The Major Leagues once went a stretch of 34 years (from 1922 to 1956) without seeing a perfect game, and as recently as the 1970’s, went an entire decade without seeing one.
During the 1990’s, there was an all-time high of four perfect games, including just the second time that there were perfect games pitched in back to back years (David Wells in 1998, David Cone in 1999; prior to that, Jim Bunning in 1964 and Sandy Koufax in 1965 were the only two to throw perfect games in back to back seasons).
So far in 2010, there have been two official, and one (as of yet) unofficial perfect game thrown. In fact, these three games happened in less than a month (Dallas Braden on May 9, 2010; Roy Halladay on May 29, 2010; Armando Galarraga on June 2, 2010).
For those of you keeping track at home, the 1990’s had a record four perfect games, while the…2010’s(?) has essentially three perfect games less than three full months into the first season of the decade (and let’s not start with the whole “the decade doesn’t start until next year crap–I’m going by the first three digits of the year).
Add Mark Buehrle’s perfect game from July of 2009, and that’s four in less than a full year.
So what’s causing the rash of perfect games? Is it a fluke? Is it the watering down of talent due to expansion finally catching up to hitters, as it seemed to with pitchers? Are pitchers just getting better? Are performance enhancing drugs–and/or the testing/banning of them–somehow coming into play? Is MLB finally making up for juicing balls after the strike shortened season in an attempt to lure fans back to the ballpark?
I really don’t have any idea what’s behind it–so I thought I’d put it out there to see if anyone has any other thoughts on what might be leading to this, whether or not the trend will continue, and if so if that means that the exclusivity of such a game will start to wane as more pitchers are able to throw them?