Overseas Fan Spring Training - Measuring Perfection
With only one more week left in Spring Training it is time to wrap up this series with the final look at how we measure perfection.
There are a lot of things used to measure how good a pitcher is; Wins, Losses, Earned Run Average (ERA), innings pitched, strikeouts, walks, earned runs, games started, games finished, complete games, WHIP, and many more.
We have talked about these in previous installments of this series, but nothing grabs the attention of the fans like a shutout, a no hitter, and above all that elusive perfect game.
ShutoutIs defined as when a team is held scoreless while the pitcher completes the full game. Hits are allowed, walks are allowed, errors in the field are allowed, and the pitcher can hit a batter, but nobody may score a run.
The all-time leaderboard shows that Walter Johnson of the Senators in the early 1900's led with 110 shutouts.
Among active players, the Boston Red Sox have pitcher John Lackey in 11th place with 8 shutouts and Jake Peavy in 19th with 6 shutouts.
No hitterA pitcher who, at the end of a complete game, has allowed no hits.
When you look at the list of no hitters, you will also see that they record combined efforts. This is when a pitching staff of the team puts together a no hitter, but these are not as impressive in my opinion as the sole efforts of a lone man on the mound fighting off the opposing hitters over the course of an entire game.
The most no hitters thrown by any pitcher was seven, by Nolan Ryan.
The most caught by a catcher was four by Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. He did it for Hideo Nomo in 2001 against the Orioles, for Derek Lowe in 2002 again the Rays, for Clay Buchholz in 2007 against the Orioles, and for Jon Lester in 2008 against the Royals.
Perfect gameWhen a pitcher pitches a no hitter, and no runners have reached base on walks, errors or being hit by pitches.
You can always tell the magic of this one as you look at the scoreboard and see 9 zeros for each of the 9 innings played, then in the last three columns of the scoreboard you have a zero for runs, a zero for hits, and finally a zero for errors.
There have been only 23 pitchers to throw a perfect game, one of the most amazing achievements in all of sports. You have to retire 27 hitters in order.
Cy Young from Boston did it in 1904.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been on the losing end of perfect games three times, in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Next were the Los Angeles Dodgers who were on the losing end twice, in 1988 and 1991.
Now you too will be getting excited when you hear the announcer or see messages on twitter that a no hitter / perfect game is in progress. Be sure to jump on over to watch it happen live as there is nothing more magical in sports to watch than the last strike in a perfect game.
You can catch up on some of the past articles in this series.
- Measuring Pefection
- Easing into Wins Above Replacement (WAR)
- Rarest of Statistical Awards
- Pitching Stats for Closers
- Demystifying the Triple-Slash Line
More by Eric D. Schabell