by Mike Morrison
On Sunday, July 18, New York Yankees pitcher David Cone accomplished one of the rarest feats in sports - the perfect game. Cone was brilliant as he set down 27 consecutive Montreal Expos batters to lead the Yankees to a 6-0 victory. No hits, no walks, no errors, no hit-batsmen.
Arguably the most famous perfect game in history was thrown by former Yankee Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series. His 2-0 masterpiece in game 5 against the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the Yankees a 3-2 series lead and sparked them to their fifth World Series Championship of the decade.
Coincidentally, Larsen was in attendance on Sunday for a ceremony honoring Yankee legend Yogi Berra. Berra was the catcher during Larsen's gem. Prior to Sunday's game, Berra borrowed current Yankee catcher Joe Girardi's glove to receive the game's ceremonial first pitch from Larsen in a dramatic reenactment of that day 43 years ago. No one realized the drama that was to come.
Perfect Games Through the Years|
1999 All-Star Game
All-Star Game Quiz
Baseball's 15th Perfect Game
Perfect game oddities and near-misses:
In 1908, New York's Hooks Wiltse was one strike away from a perfect game against Philadelphia when he hit a batter. What made it even worse was that the batter he hit was the Philadelphia pitcher. Wiltse did go on to record a no-hitter, but his bid for perfection was lost.
In 1917, Boston's Babe Ruth started a game against the Washington Senators. As lore has it, Ruth walked lead-off batter Ray Morgan and became so enraged that he punched the umpire in the face and was ejected. Ernie Shore came in to replace Ruth, promptly caught Morgan trying to steal and retired the remaining 26 batters. Because he didn't start, his perfect game is not considered official.
In 1959, Pittsburgh Pirate Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, before finally losing in the 13th, 1-0.