Thursday, June 12, 2014

Strike One...Two...Three...Nine


You can pitch a perfect game, as 23 men have in MLB history, but it doesn't mean you've pitched an immaculate inning.

Immaculate innings are when a pitcher throws nine strikes--no balls, no fouls. Just strike one, two and three--three times in a half inning. In fact, you're more perfect when you're immaculate than when you're perfect; perfect games, after all, feature lots of balls and fouls.

Garrett Richards of the L.A. Angels did it earlier this month, just two days after Justin Masterson was similarly immaculate for the Cleveland Indians. (Making things even more immaculate, Masterson did it against his old Boston Red Sox mates; the Sawx had traded Masterson and others for Victor Martinez in 2009. V-Mart split two years later as a free agent.)

Two others have had immaculate innings this season, says the NY Times: Cole Hamels of the Phightin' Phils and Brad Boxberger of the Rays.

The Double I has its own entry on Wikipedia, which says John Clarkson was the first player to get one when his mighty Boston Beaneaters (real team name) faced the Philadelphia Quakers (like the Phils, without the fighting), in 1889.

It's been done just 75 times in Major League history, reports Baseball Almanac.

The last Met to do it, if you're scoring at home, was David Cone in 1991.