Chicago White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle’s recent perfect game was only the 18th one pitched in the history of Major League Baseball. Yet as masterful as Buehrle was during his outing, his perfect game does not rank among the top five perfect games ever pitched. Here then is a list of the top perfect games pitched in MLB history.
Don Larson, Yankees (Oct. 8, 1956)
Larson’s perfect game should head everyone’s list given that he pitched against an impressive Brooklyn Dodgers team in the 5th game of 1956 World Series. With Yogi Berra behind the plate and a crowd of 65,519 fans in attendance, Larson took all of 97 pitches to complete his masterpiece, striking out seven batters in the process. Unable to get a hit or walk out of Larson that day were such famous Hall of Fame players as Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. The game was the pinnacle of Larson’s career, a pitcher with an 81-91 lifetime record.
Sandy Koufax, Dodgers (Sept. 9, 1965)
Sandy Koufax, arguably the best pitcher of his generation, pitched one of his 4 lifetime no-hitters on Sept. 9, 1965 against the Chicago Cubs. Besides the fact that it was also a perfect game, and that Koufax struck out 14 Cubs in the process, the game also featured a one hitter thrown by Cub’s pitcher Bob Hendley. Hendley on mistake was surrendering a double that turned into a run for the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth. Also of note is the fact that Jeff Torborg caught Koufax’s game, one of three no hitters he would catch during his career.
David Cone, Yankees (July 18, 1999)
For sheer brevity of pitches, David Cone’s perfect game against the Montreal Expos in 1999 stands out. In that game Cone used all of 88 pitches to produce the 27 outs required. What’s more, Cone had to suffer through a rain delay that lasted over 30 minutes. The Yankee left-hander would find little success the rest of the season, going 2-5 from that point on.
Randy Johnson Diamondbacks (May 18, 2004)
Johnson was 40 years old when he turned in a 117 pitch, 13 strikeout performance against the Atlanta Braves, becoming the oldest pitcher to accomplish the feat in Major League Baseball. What’s more, Johnson did it against a good hitting Braves team on the road. The Braves also got good pitching that night, in the form of a 2 run complete game from Mike Hampton.
Cy Young, American’s (May 5, 1904)
At 37, Cy Young punctuated his illustrious career with a perfect game against the Philadelphia A’s. On the mound for the A’s that day was the equally impressive Rube Waddell who himself went the distant and pitched all nine innings. Yet it was Young who would win the dual and claim the first perfect game pitched in baseball’s modern era.