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Facing the minimum batters without pitching a perfect game

Posted by Andy on August 22, 2007

This is a pretty simple Pitching Game Finder PI search, setting batters faced to 27, innings pitched to 9, and base runners >= 1. This list therefore cannot include any perfect games (since at least one batter reached base) but can include no-hitters where base runners were erased by double plays, caught stealings, or pickoffs.

I'd like to post the full list, and since it's a little long, I'm putting it after the jump:

  Cnt Player            Date          Tm   Opp GmReslt App,Dec    IP   H  R ER BB BR SO HR Pit Str GmSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS Pk BK WP   ERA
+----+-----------------+-------------+---+----+-------+---------+----+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+---+---+----+--+--+--+--+--+--+---+---+--+--+---+--+--+--+--+--+------+
    1 Erik Bedard       2007-07-07    BAL @TEX W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2 15  0 109  79   98       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
    2 Mark Buehrle      2007-04-18    CHW  TEX W  6-0  SHO9  ,W   9    0  0  0  1  1  8  0 106  66   94       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  0  1  0  0   0.00
    3 Josh Fogg         2006-06-30    COL @SEA W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  1  3  1  0  91  58   83       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   3  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
    4 Mark Buehrle      2004-07-21    CHW @CLE W 14-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  4  0  90  67   87       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
    5 Odalis Perez      2002-04-26    LAD @CHC W 10-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  6  0  91  62   91       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
    6 Woody Williams    2001-09-05    STL @SDP W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  6  0 101  64   89       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
    7 Jon Lieber        2001-05-24    CHC  CIN W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  1  2  2  0  78  56   86       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
    8 Mike Grace        1997-09-02    PHI  NYY W  5-0  SHO9  ,W   9    3  0  0  0  3  1  0  84  56   82       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
    9 Dennis Rasmussen  1992-09-29    KCR @CAL W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  3  0  96  64   88       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   10 Terry Mulholland  1990-08-15    PHI  SFG W  6-0  SHO9  ,W   9    0  0  0  0  1  8  0 105  75   95       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   11 Tim Belcher       1990-07-21    LAD @PIT W  6-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  1  2  6  0           90       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   12 Jack Morris       1990-07-06    DET  KCR W  4-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  6  0 105  69   91       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   13 Bob Milacki       1989-04-23    BAL  MIN W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    3  0  0  2  5  3  0 101  62   82       27 25  0  0   0   0  0  0   4  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   14 Bob Knepper       1988-09-21    HOU  ATL W  1-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  1  2  7  0 104  68   91       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  2  0  0  0   0.00
   15 Mike Moore        1988-09-17    SEA  MIL W 11-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  8  0 100  63   91       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   16 Kelly Downs       1988-06-07    SFG  ATL W  5-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  6  0  93  67   89       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   17 Floyd Bannister   1987-09-13    CHW @SEA W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1 10  0           95       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   18 Bret Saberhagen   1985-05-17    KCR @MIL W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  4  0           87       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   19 Orel Hershiser    1985-04-26    LAD  SDP W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  1  2  5  0           89       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  2  1  0  0   0.00
   20 La Marr Hoyt      1984-05-02    CHW  NYY W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  8  0           93       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   21 John Candelaria   1982-07-25    PIT  ATL W  8-0  SHO9  ,W   9    4  0  0  0  4  3  0           82       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   3  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   22 Mike Flanagan     1982-05-03    BAL  SEA W  6-0  SHO9  ,W   9    3  0  0  1  4  3  0           83       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  1  0  0   0.00
   23 Bob Welch         1980-05-29    LAD  ATL W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  7  0           92       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   24 Bob Forsch        1975-04-09    STL  MON W  4-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  6  0           89       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   25 Reggie Cleveland  1973-09-27    STL  CHC W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  3  0           88       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   26 Gary Waslewski    1969-07-06(2) MON @PHI W  5-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  1  2  5  0           89       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   27 Jim Palmer        1967-05-12    BAL @NYY W 14-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  4  0           89       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   28 Dick Kelley       1966-09-21    ATL  STL W  4-0  SHO9  ,W   9    3  0  0  0  3  5  0           86       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  1  0  0  0  0   0.00
   29 Woodie Fryman     1966-07-01    PIT @NYM W 12-0  SHO9  ,W   9    1  0  0  0  1  8  0           93       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   30 Sandy Koufax      1964-06-04    LAD @PHI W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    0  0  0  1  1 12  0  97  68   98       27 26  0  0   0   0  0  0   0  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   31 Dick Donovan      1962-07-02    CLE  BAL W  2-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  6  0           89       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  1  0  0  0   0.00
   32 Warren Spahn      1961-04-28    MLN  SFG W  1-0  SHO9  ,W   9    0  0  0  2  2  5  0           90       27 25  0  0   0   0  0  0   2  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   33 Lew Burdette      1960-08-18    MLN  PHI W  1-0  SHO9  ,W   9    0  0  0  0  1  3  0           90       27 26  0  0   0   1  0  0   0  0  0  0  0  0   0.00
   34 Jim Wilson        1958-06-15(1) CHW @BAL W  3-0  SHO9  ,W   9    2  0  0  0  2  4  0           87       27 27  0  0   0   0  0  0   1  0  0  1  0  0   0.00

So there have been 34 such games since 1957. These are all complete games by a single pitcher, but it's also been done twice using multiple pitchers: here in 2003 by the Mets, and here in 1989 by the Athletics.

Lots of cool things to note about this list:

  • There are just 5 no-hitters on this list: Buehrle's from earlier this season, as well as the games by Mulholland, Koufax, Spahn, and Burdette.
  • Candelaria's 1982 game had the most hits, with 4. They were erased on 3 GIDPs and one CS.
  • Milacki's 1989 game had the most base runners, with 5. He got 4 GIDPs and one CS.
  • Two games had just 2 base runners that were both eliminated by caught stealing: Knepper's game in 1988, and Hershiser's game in 1985.
  • In that Hershiser game, both of the caught stealings were hung on Tony Gwynn, who was caught stealing after walking in the first, and then caught stealing in the 4th as part of a K/CS DP (which is so much shorter to write than "a strike 'em out / thrown 'em out double play."
  • The Woody Williams game in 2001 features an out made by something other than a DP, CS, or Pk. D'Angelo Jimenez led off the 7th inning with a single and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. That was the first base runner of the game for the Padres, and down just 2-0 late in a game, was a pretty big blunder by Jimenez. (Although I say that without being able to see a replay. I found a website with an account of the game that confirms Jimenez was out stretching, but that website has really annoying pop-up ads so I am not going to link to it.) This game also happened just about a month after Williams was traded between the two teams (from San Diego to St. Louis for Ray Lankford.) Finally, this game by Williams would likely be more remembered if it hadn't have come just 3 days after Mike Mussina missed a perfect game in Boston (the one where Carl Everett got a hit with 2 outs in the 9th inning), and if it hadn't come just 6 days before September 11, 2001, when baseball disappeared from the minds of many people for a while.
  • Bannister's 1987 game also had a runner throw out trying to stretch. That was Harold Reynolds with 2 outs in the 3rd inning when the White Sox led the Mariners 1-0. That gamble by Reynolds, with the leadoff hitter up next, was a much better gamble than Jiminez'. Similarly, in Flanagan's 1982 game featured Jim Essian thrown out at 2nd base, also in the 3rd inning, also with the leadoff hitter up next, although his team was down 2-0 at the time.
  • Burdette's 1960 game is the only one with a HBP, and that was his only base runner. In addition, Burdette doubled to lead off the 8th inning and scored the game's only run.
  • Buehrle is the only player since 1957 to have more than once such game (i.e. he's the only guy to appear on the above list twice.)

It's interesting to note how having a no-hitter helps one's reputation. There are a number of rather unremarkable pitchers in MLB history who threw a no-hitter and are better remembered as a result. A few names come to mind such as Juan Nieves, Jose Jimenez, George Culver, Jim Colborn, and Bo Belinksy (there are many additional examples.)

But there are quite a few guys on the list above who were much better pitchers over their careers, but never had the good fortune of pitching a no-hitter.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 at 7:30 am and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Facing the minimum batters without pitching a perfect game”

  1. kingturtle Says:

    Other interesting tidbits:
    *In Dick Kelley's game, a player actually got to 2nd base (Cepeda stole 2nd, and was later out during a line-out DP)
    *Burdette went 2-3 in his game, and scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the 8th.
    *Three HOFers were on losing ends: Bob Gibson vs. Dick Kelley, Whitey Ford vs. Jim Palmer, Phil Neikro vs. Bob Welch (Note: Blyleven lost against Dennis Rasmussen. Blyleven isn't in the Hall, but should be)
    *Only twice did the winning team make an error: Terry Mulholland lost his perfect game bid in the top of the 7th due to an error, but still earned the no hitter; in Warren Spahn's game, Charley Lau dropped a foul ball.

  2. PatHajovsky Says:

    So for Buerhle, that also means he's now the only person in history to have faced the minimum number of batters twice, since Koufax' perfect game adds to his total. Or, for a more negative spin, Buerhle's the only guy to have faced the minimum twice and not pitch a perfect game. (Sounds like an owner's salary negotiation spin from the pre-free agent days! : ))

  3. PatHajovsky Says:

    Sorry, Buehrle.

  4. I'm sure nobody ever misspells his last name....except that every single time I write it, I need to check the spelling carefully. But I finally got Teixeira down. See? Teixeira. Teixeira. Right every time. :)