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Buehrle Throws Perfect Game

July 24, 2009

Mark Buehrle did something no other pitcher has accomplished since Randy Johnson in 2004—throw a perfect game. He was remarkably efficient on the mound, only toeing the rubber for 32 minutes in a 123-minute game, throwing 66% of his pitches for strikes, inducing 11 groundouts, 7 fly balls (one of which was a miraculous catch made by Dewayne Wise), 3 line drives, and 6 punchouts.

Out of curiosity, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at how Buehrle’s perfect game compared to others from the past. So I decided to take a look at all perfect games thrown in the history of Baseball and rate them based on Bill James’ “Game Score,” which assigns points to a pitcher based on the quality of the start. It works as follows:

1. Start with 50 points.
2. Add 1 point for each out recorded (3 points for each complete inning pitched).
3. Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th.
4. Add 1 point for each strikeout.
5. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
6. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.
7. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.
8. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

So, without further ado, the Game Score of each perfect game thrown:

Name Team Year Game Score
Sandy Koufax LAD 1965 101
Randy Johnson AZ 2004 100
Catfish Hunter OAK 1968 98
Len Barker CLE 1981 98
David Wells NYY 1998 98
Jim Bunning PHI 1964 97
Mike Witt CAL 1984 97
David Cone NYY 1999 97
Kenny Rogers TEX 1994 95
Don Larsen NYY 1956 94
Tom Browning CIN 1988 94
Charlie Robertson CHW 1922 93
Mark Buehrle CHW 2009 93
Lee Richmond WOW 1880 92
John M. Ward PROV 1880 92
Dennis Martinez MON 1991 92
Cy Young BOS 1904 90
Addie Joss CLE 1908 90

Obviously, what separates the pitchers is the number of strikeouts because all the other stats in their line are the exact same. The average game score was a 95, so Buehrle’s ranks slightly below average—but it’s still good to tie him with fellow former White Sox pitcher Charlie Robertson for 12th overall.

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