Matt Cain this week threw what some people are saying was the best “perfect game” ever. Is it really possible to say that one perfect game is better than another and, if so, which one would you vote for?
I think so, but such a statement comes with the caveat that one would have a hard time quantifying it. Why is it the best? Because of Mr. Krause? Because of Mr. Lung? Because of the interns?
That’s just the very beginning of a long list of things that makes RSBS the G.O.A.T.
But can we quantify what exactly makes one perfecto better than another? Not really. But it’s fun trying. For example, Matt Cain’s 14 strikeouts tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a perfect game (Sandy Koufax, 1965), which clearly demonstrates superior command and dominance over the opposition. Cain also threw 19 first pitch strikes and never got himself in a 2-0 count. Meanwhile, his defense did some dazzling. Both the 6th and 7th innings featured unbelievable catches in the outfield that, had they not been made, would have sunk the perfect game effort. The last out, a hard ground ball to third base that put Joaquin Arias in a stutter step also provided one final gasping twist to the accomplishment. All of the above, plus Cain’s eery zen mound presence throughout it all, provide plenty of quantification for it being the “best” perfect game ever.
Still, it’s relative. And maybe we see it as the “best” right now because it’s fresh in our minds.
I recall Randy Johnson’s 2004 effort against the Braves as being one of the most dominate games I’ve ever seen too. The Big Unit struck out 13 in that game and was throwin’ nasty stuff all the while. David Cone didn’t see a 2-0 count in his 1999 perfecto against the late Expos, a game where he also had to sit out for a 33-minute rain delay, on Yogi Berra Day, with Don Larsen in the stands!
But, for me, the best perfect game I’ve ever seen came on a lazy Thursday afternoon in July 2009, when Mark Buehrle pitched himself into the record books, again. What made that game so special, for me, was that I was watching it at work and by the 8th inning, I was watching it with the UPS man, the FedEx man and yes, even the mail man. When Dewayne Wise made “the catch” we reveled in our mutual south sidedness and gave each other big, sweaty man-hugs.
That’s the sorta thing that only happens once in a lifetime, so I’ll be hanging my hat on the Buehrle perfecto for the forseeable future. But that’s just me.
You can hate me for that. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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