Braden's perfecto fits day-game trend
A's pitcher's gem also third in past five to come on Sunday
Dallas Braden added another line to the baseball record books on Sunday afternoon when he threw the 19th perfect game in Major League history. Fourteen perfect games have been thrown since the introduction of night baseball, a handy signpost for the modern era. And since the advent of stadium lights, they have been split nearly evenly between night games and day ones.
Eight of the past 14 perfect games have come in day games, but the modern trend shows something else entirely. Four of the five most recent perfect games -- those pitched by Braden, Mark Buehrle, David Cone and David Wells -- have come during the day. Just one perfect game in the past 15 years -- Randy Johnson's -- was thrown at night.
In fact, three of the past five have come specifically in Sunday afternoon games: Wells, Cone and Braden. Overall, eight of the 19 fit that description, including Jim Bunning's perfect Father's Day against the Mets.
Braden's, of course, came on Mother's Day -- a year to the day after he was hit by a line drive by Vernon Wells in a 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays.
"You know, a year later you don't expect anything like this," Braden said. "I'm just happy to be putting on the costume a year later."
Day and Night
|Don Larsen||New York (AL)||10/8/1956||Day|
|Jim Bunning*||Los Angeles||6/21/1964||Day|
|David Wells*||New York (AL)||5/17/1998||Day|
|David Cone*||New York (AL)||7/18/1999||Day|
|Mark Buehrle||Chicago (AL)||7/23/2009||Day|
Last July 23, White Sox left-hander Buehrle became just one of six pitchers in baseball history to throw both a no-hitter and a perfect game on separate occasions, joining Cy Young, Addie Joss, Bunning, Sandy Koufax and Johnson. And in the immediate aftermath, he was overcome by the achievement.
"I think it will soak in a little later," Buehrle said moments after he'd completed his perfect game. "I still don't know what happened. Obviously, any time your name gets up there with some of the greats in the game, it means a lot."
After Cone threw his perfect game against the Expos at Yankee Stadium on July 18, 1999, there was a five-year span until Johnson's in Atlanta in 2004. Another five y ears passed before Buehrle's.
Braden's comes less than a year after that one, much like Cone's came 14 months after fellow Yankees pitcher Wells had managed the feat. Both Braden and Buehrle threw their perfect games against Tampa Bay, and the Rays have seven starters who played in both games.
Five of baseball's perfect games -- those of Lee Richmond, Monte Ward, Young, Joss and Charlie Robertson -- were thrown before lights were introduced to big league stadiums. More than 30 years passed between Robertson's perfecto in 1922 and the one thrown by Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, the longest gap between two perfect games on record.
The 1960's saw three perfect games thrown -- by Bunning, Koufax and Catfish Hunter -- and two of them came in night games. There were no perfect games thrown in the 70's, and the 80's continued the momentum from earlier decades. Len Barker and Tom Browning threw perfect games at night, while Mike Witt made history during the day in 1984.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.