This Day in Baseball: Felix Hernandez’s Perfect Game

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Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Anniversary

Felix Hernandez’s perfect game anniversary is today. On August 15th, 2012, Hernandez pitched the game of his life. Felix Hernandez’s perfect game anniversary brings fond memories to Seattle Mariners fans, as well as baseball fans around the world. Hernandez, on a beautiful Wednesday summer afternoon in 2012, threw the 23rd official perfect game in MLB history.

10 Years Since Perfection

It is difficult to believe it has been a decade since Felix Hernandez’s perfect game. Mostly because no one has done it since, yet so many happened in 2012. Hernandez was the third perfect game of the season, following Philip Humber and Matt Cain. Although perfect games seemed to be happening in a historic quantity in 2012, it did not make Felix Hernandez’s perfect game any less special. Hernandez not only made himself part of an elite group of pitchers on that day, but his performance set a new record for perfect games recorded in a single season. A record that is unlikely to be broken.

Sights and Sounds From a Perfect Day

It was exclaimed to viewers watching that it had been “34 years and 119 days!” for the Mariners to throw a perfect game. The crowd roared for a special sight that had never been seen in Seattle. Of course, as with any other Felix Hernandez start, King’s Court was full of excitement the moment he took the mound. As the game went longer, and the possibility of a perfect game became more apparent, the bright yellow “K” signs waved harder than they ever had. Seattle’s King had done it. 

Perfect Game Facts

Hernandez’s perfect game was an occurrence that the Tampa Bay Rays, unfortunately, were used to. This was the third time since the 2009 season that the Rays were the opposing team. As well, four Rays players were in the lineup for all 3. Evan Longoria, Carlos Peña, B.J. Upton, and Ben Zobrist. That means those four were actively a part of 13% of the perfect games in MLB history. Probably not the best statistic to be part of. However, Hernandez may have benefitted from the fact that Tampa Bay routinely had very off days at the plate over the last few years with the same four hitters.

Hernandez had a higher than average pitch count for his perfect game. His final count was 113 pitches. Only 20/23 official perfect games have pitch counts recorded. Of those games, 103.1 is the average number of pitches it takes to get it done. However, of the perfect games thrown in the 21st century, it is more common to go above 103.1. For example, Matt Cain, Randy Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Dallas Braden, and of course King Felix were all above that mark.

10th Anniversary

Hernandez’s perfect game is a true testament to just how hard it is to be perfect in the game of baseball. Hundreds of thousands of games have been played over the 150+ years of Major League Baseball. Yet, only 23 have had the honor of accomplishing the feat. Although rare and always unexpected, baseball fosters the dream that perfection is within reach for any pitcher. On any given day, elite pitcher or not, anyone can be perfect. On this day 10 years ago, Felix Hernandez was.

Main Photo:

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Players Mentioned:

Felix Hernandez, Philip Humber, Matt Cain, Evan Longoria, Carlos Peña, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Randy Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Dallas Braden