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The Best Lineups to be Perfect Gamed

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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