What in the world is going on with all these perfect games in baseball?

What once was the toughest feat in the game is now becoming a frequent occurrence. Roy Halladay’s perfect game on Saturday for the Philadelphia Phillies was the second in 20 days, following the Mother’s Day perfecto hurled by Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics.

Add the perfect game Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox threw last July and that makes three in 10 months, after just 17 were thrown over the previous 129 years.

What in the name of Cy Young is going on here?

Ah yeah, Young is one of the 20 pitchers who’ve thrown a perfect game, hence the coveted baseball pitching award in his name. But if he has the MLB package in his grave, he’s got to be rolling around a bit wondering what’s going on.

At one stretch in baseball history, not a single perfect game was tossed in 34 years – from Charlie Robertson’s perfecto for the Chicago White Sox in 1922 to the famous World Series perfect game thrown by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees in 1956.

There have been some big names other than Young and Halladay who threw perfect games. The list includes Sandy Koufax (1965), Jim Bunning (1964), Catfish Hunter (1968) and Randy Johnson (2004).

There have also been some average pitchers like Len Barker (1981) and Mike Witt (1984) who became immortal by retiring all 27 hitters they faced. (entire list of 20 perfect games can be found here — http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/rare_feats/index.jsp?feature=perfect_game)

Braden’s perfect game might have been the most unbelievable one because the left-hander had just 17 career wins entering the contest.

There was almost an even more unlikely one a few days later when Mat Latos of the San Diego Padres allowed only an infield single while handcuffing the San Francisco Giants. The only hit was a deflected ball off Latos that rolled over between shortstop and third base and Eli Whiteside narrowly beat Chase Headley’s throw to first.

Counting an April no-hitter by Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, there have already been three no-hitters this season. That’s amazing in the pitch-count era where complete games have become a rare commodity.

What in the name of Nolan Ryan is going on here?

Whatever it is, it almost makes you wonder how long before the next one. That 34-year drought between perfect games appears out of the question. Particularly after going 34 days without a second one was too big a task.

But if unassisted triple plays could occur in three consecutive seasons – Troy Tulowitzki (2007), Asdrubal Cabrera (2008) and Eric Bruntlett (2009) —  then I suppose a third perfect game this season is a real possibility.

OK, who’s next?


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