The Best Lineups to be Perfect Gamed

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 15: Fans in the King's Court section cheer after starting pitcher Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners struck out Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays to end the eighth inning at Safeco Field on August 15, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Hernandez threw a perfect game to defeat the Rays 1-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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True story. I kid you not.

Just twenty-four hours before Felix Hernandez finished his perfect game against the perfecto-prone Tampa Bay Rays, I had pulled a whole bunch of perfect-game related data for a visual I had been meaning to put together ever since Philip Humber threw his gem.

I thought to myself, "What's the rush? I'll just do this when I have time. Who knows when there will be a perfect game again? It could be fourteen years from now."

I seriously thought that. Twenty-four hours later, I was scrambling to finish my data collection. The visual above shows the best lineups ever to fall victim to a perfect game. I used Baseball-Reference's WAR batting runs for the starters in the lineup for the season in which the perfect game was thrown (so, the totals for the three [three!] 2012 perfect games are incomplete).

Observations:

  • Mark Buehrle's perfect game stands out above the rest, by far.
  • Seems fitting that the World Series perfect game would rank highly.
  • King Felix threw the most impressive perfecto so far in 2012.
  • Lee Richmond batted second while throwing a perfect game.
  • Baseball-Almanac.com actually has box scores for the Richmond and Ward perfect games. They are from 1880, for crying out loud.
  • Len Barker faced just one hitter with a positive Rbat. That was John Mayberry.

Here's my data. Let me know if you see something interesting!

Felix Hernandez vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2012): +22 runs

Age Rbat
Sam Fuld* -1
B.J. Upton -1
Matthew Joyce* 16
Evan Longoria 7
Ben Zobrist# 20
Carlos Pena* -4
Jose Lobaton# -2
Elliot Johnson# -1
Sean Rodriguez -12

Matt Cain vs. Houston Astros (2012): –12 runs (–18 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Jordan Schafer CF -12
Jose Altuve 2B 10
Jed Lowrie SS 8
J.D. Martinez LF -8
Brett Wallace 1B 5
Chris Johnson 3B 4
Brian Bogusevic RF -9
Chris Snyder C -10
J.A. Happ P -6

Philip Humber vs. Seattle Mariners (2012): –59 runs

Batting Rbat
Chone Figgins LF -9
Dustin Ackley 2B -8
Ichiro Suzuki RF -14
Justin Smoak 1B -17
Kyle Seager 3B 3
Jesus Montero DH 0
Michael Saunders CF -1
Miguel Olivo C -8
Munenori Kawasaki SS -5

Roy Halladay vs. Florida Marlins (2010): +32 runs (+19 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Chris Coghlan LF -1
Gaby Sanchez 1B 6
Hanley Ramirez SS 20
Jorge Cantu 3B -5
Dan Uggla 2B 27
Cody Ross RF -2
Brett Hayes C -4
Cameron Maybin CF -9
Josh Johnson P -13

Dallas Braden vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2010): +45 runs

Batting Rbat
Jason Bartlett SS -4
Carl Crawford LF 28
Ben Zobrist 2B 1
Evan Longoria 3B 30
Carlos Pena 1B 4
B.J. Upton CF 5
Willy Aybar DH -5
Dioner Navarro C -8
Gabe Kapler RF -6

Mark Buehrle vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2009): +114 runs

Batting Rbat
B.J. Upton CF -14
Carl Crawford LF 13
Evan Longoria 3B 26
Carlos Pena 1B 20
Ben Zobrist 2B 37
Pat Burrell DH 12
Gabe Kapler RF 0
Michel Hernandez C -5
Jason Bartlett SS 25

Randy Johnson vs. Atlanta Braves (2004): +53 runs (+47 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Jesse Garcia SS -7
Julio Franco 1B 5
Chipper Jones LF 16
Andruw Jones CF 7
Johnny Estrada C 9
J.D. Drew RF 50
Mark DeRosa 3B -18
Nick Green 2B -9
Mike Hampton P -6


David Cone vs. Montreal Expos (1999): +22 runs

Batting Rbat
Wilton Guerrero DH -4
Terry Jones CF -3
Rondell White LF 18
Vladimir Guerrero RF 37
Jose Vidro 2B 10
Brad Fullmer 1B -3
Chris Widger C -2
Shane Andrews 3B -18
Orlando Cabrera SS -13

David Wells vs. Minnesota Twins (1998): –63 runs

Batting Rbat
Matt Lawton CF 26
Brent Gates 2B -14
Paul Molitor DH -10
Marty Cordova LF -8
Ron Coomer 1B -14
Alex Ochoa RF -12
Jon Shave 3B -2
Javier Valentin C -15
Pat Meares SS -14

Kenny Rogers vs. California Angels (1994): –9 runs

Batting Rbat
Chad Curtis CF -8
Spike Owen 3B 12
Jim Edmonds LF -8
Chili Davis DH 27
Bo Jackson RF 6
J.T. Snow 1B -14
Rex Hudler 2B 2
Chris Turner C -6
Gary Disarcina SS -20

Dennis Martinez vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (1991): +42 runs (+28 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Brett Butler CF 18
Juan Samuel 2B 7
Eddie Murray 1B 0
Darryl Strawberry RF 24
Kal Daniels LF 6
Lenny Harris 3B 0
Mike Scioscia C 6
Alfredo Griffin SS -19
Mike Morgan P -14

Tom Browning vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (1988): +28 runs (+20 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Alfredo Griffin SS -18
Mickey Hatcher 1B 0
Kirk Gibson LF 32
Mike Marshall RF 12
John Shelby CF 5
Jeff Hamilton 3B -5
Rick Dempsey C 6
Steve Sax 2B -4
Tim Belcher P -8

Mike Witt vs. Texas Rangers (1984): –41 runs

Batting Rbat
Mickey Rivers DH 0
Wayne Tolleson 2B -22
Gary Ward LF 13
Larry Parrish 3B 14
Pete O'Brien 1B 11
George Wright CF -11
Tom Dunbar RF -4
Donnie Scott C -15
Curt Wilkerson SS -27

Len Barker vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1981): –77 runs

Batting Rbat
Alfredo Griffin SS -27
Lloyd Moseby RF -12
George Bell LF -6
John Mayberry 1B 8
Willie Upshaw DH -5
Damaso Garcia 2B -11
Rick Bosetti CF -2
Danny Ainge 3B -20
Buck Martinez C -2

Catfish Hunter vs. Minnesota Twins (1968): +50 runs (+48 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Cesar Tovar 3B 7
Rod Carew 2B -1
Harmon Killebrew 1B 15
Tony Oliva RF 22
Ted Uhlaender CF 8
Bob Allison LF 14
Jackie Hernandez SS -14
Bruce Look C -1
Dave Boswell P -2

Sandy Koufax vs. Chicago Cubs (1965): +23 runs

Batting Rbat
Don Young CF -6
Glenn Beckert 2B -25
Billy Williams RF 47
Ron Santo 3B 37
Ernie Banks 1B 8
Byron Browne LF -2
Chris Krug C -11
Don Kessinger SS -25
Bob Hendley P 0

Jim Bunning vs. New York Mets (1964): +23 runs (+17 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Jim Hickman CF 4
Ron Hunt 2B 11
Ed Kranepool 1B 1
Joe Christopher RF 24
Jesse Gonder C 0
Hawk Taylor LF -8
Charley Smith SS -1
Amado Samuel 3B -8
Tracy Stallard P -6

Don Larsen vs. Brooklyn Dodgers (1956): +79 runs (+66 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Jim Gilliam 2B 12
Pee Wee Reese SS -12
Duke Snider CF 38
Jackie Robinson 3B 8
Gil Hodges 1B 17
Sandy Amoros LF 15
Carl Furillo RF 9
Roy Campanella C -8
Sal Maglie P -13

Charlie Robertson vs. Detroit Tigers (1922): +68 runs (+54 including pitcher)

Batting Rbat
Lu Blue 1B 14
George Cutshaw 2B -23
Ty Cobb CF 30
Bobby Veach LF 21
Harry Heilmann RF 46
Bob Jones 3B -20
Topper Rigney SS 2
Clyde Manion C -2
Herman Pillette P -14

Addie Joss vs. Chicago White Sox (1908): +12 runs (+4 including pitcher)

NAME POS Rbat
Ed Hahn rf 7
Fielder Jones cf 16
Frank Isbell 1b 1
Patsy Dougherty lf 16
George Davis 2b -6
Freddy Parent ss -7
Ossee Schreckengost c -1
Lee Tannehill 3b -14
Ed Walsh p -8

Cy Young vs. Philadelphia Athletics (1904): +26 runs (+10 including pitcher)

NAME POS Rbat
Topsy Hartsel lf 8
Ollie Pickering cf -12
Harry Davis 1b 24
Lave Cross 3b 9
Socks Seybold rf 18
Danny Murphy 2b 20
Monte Cross ss -20
Ossee Schreckengost c -21
Rube Waddell p -16

John Montgomery Ward vs. Buffalo Bisons (1880): +2 runs (–10 including pitcher)

NAME POS Rbat
Bill Crowley rf-c 7
Hardy Richardson 3b 5
Jack Rowe c-rf 0
Oscar Walker lf -1
Joe Hornung 2b 5
Denny Mack ss -2
Dude Esterbrook 1b -5
Tom Poorman cf -7
Pud Galvin p -12

Lee Richmond vs. Cleveland Blues (1880): +9 runs (+7 including pitcher)

NAME POS Rbat
Fred Dunlap 2b 16
Frank Hankinson 3b -8
Doc Kennedy c -9
Bill Phillips 1b 5
Orator Shaffer rf 9
Jim McCormick p -2
Barney Gilligan cf -2
Jack Glasscock ss -2
Ned Hanlon lf 0
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