How Many Perfect Games in MLB History?

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Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, in Seattle. Hernandez tossed a perfect game in the Mariners 1-0 win.
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Sep 12, 2022, 5:37 PM
  • A perfect game occurs when no batter from the opposing team reaches any base.
  • The team cannot allow any hits, walks, batters hit by pitch, fielding errors, etc.
  • There have been 23 perfect games in recorded MLB history.

If you’re a baseball fan, chances are you’ve been asked where you were the last time your team had a perfect game — assuming your team ever has. There are few greater achievements for a pitcher than throwing a perfect game, though it’s an extremely rare occurrence, with only 23 recorded in MLB history.

So if a perfect game is such a big deal, what’s it all about?

What Is a Perfect Game?

A perfect game occurs when no batter from the opposing team reaches base over the course of nine innings. This means the team cannot allow any hits, walks, batters hit by pitch, uncaught third strikes, catcher’s or fielder’s interference, or fielding errors. 

In a nine-inning game, the pitcher would retire 27 straight batters.

How Many Perfect Games in MLB History?

PITCHERTEAMOPPONENTDATE
Lee RichmondWorcester WorcestersCleveland BluesJune 12, 1880
John Montgomery WardProvidence GraysBuffalo BisonsJune 17, 1880
Cy YoungBoston AmericansPhiladelphia AthleticsMay 5, 1904
Addie JossCleveland NapsChicago White SoxOctober 2, 1908
Charlie RobertsonChicago White SoxDetroit TigersApril 30, 1922
Don LarsenNew York YankeesBrooklyn DodgersOctober 8, 1956
Jim BunningPhiladelphia PhilliesNew York MetsJune 21, 1964
Sandy KoufaxLos Angeles DodgersChicago CubsSeptember 9, 1965
Catfish HunterOakland AthleticsMinnesota TwinsMay 8, 1968
Len BarkerCleveland IndiansToronto Blue JaysMay 15, 1981
Mike WittCalifornia AngelsTexas RangersSeptember 30, 1984
Tom BrowningCincinnati RedsLos Angeles DodgersSeptember 16, 1988
Dennis MartínezMontreal ExposLos Angeles DodgersJuly 28, 1991
Kenny RogersTexas RangersCalifornia AngelsJuly 28, 1994
David WellsNew York YankeesMinnesota TwinsMay 17, 1998
David ConeNew York YankeesMontreal ExposJuly 18, 1999
Randy JohnsonArizona DiamondbacksAtlanta BravesMay 18, 2004
Mark BuehrleChicago White SoxTampa Bay RaysJuly 23, 2009
Dallas BradenOakland AthleticsTampa Bay RaysMay 9, 2010
Roy HalladayPhiladelphia PhilliesFlorida MarlinsMay 29, 2010
Philip HumberChicago White SoxSeattle MarinersApril 21, 2012
Matt CainSan Francisco GiantsHouston AstrosJune 13, 2012
Félix HernándezSeattle MarinersTampa Bay RaysAugust 15, 2012

There have been 23 perfect games in MLB history — 21 since the modern era began in 1901, plus two in the premodern era. The two perfect games recorded in 1880 were thrown with very different pitching rules in effect, including only underhand pitching was permitted, and there was no defined strike zone.

Don Larsen’s perfect game occurred in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, making it the only postseason perfect game in history, and one of only two postseason no-hitters. 

The most recent perfect game was pitched by Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 15, 2012. The game took place at Safeco Field, now called T-Mobile Park, and after Hernández threw 113 pitches, including 12 strikeouts, the Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-0.

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.