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Leave it to Randy Johnson to ruin a perfectly good trivia question. At the
end of my previous article on “Hidden
Perfect Games
,” I included a trivia question on the remaining pitcher who
tossed two perfect games (hidden or not), having already named Pedro Martinez and Tom Browning. In the meantime, Randy Johnson threw an “official” perfect game on May 18th, to go along
with a hidden perfect game in 1998, to add his name to list of those attaining multiple perfection.
In response to the original question, many people sent in their guesses:

As you’ve probably surmised, none of these guesses were correct. Blyleven was
the most common guess, although I noted earlier in the article
that he had thrown a hidden perfect game, and one of the hints was that the
pitcher hadn’t been mentioned in the column. Roger Clemens was the second-most common guess, but The Rocket has not had a hidden perfect game in his career.

M.D. also wrote in:


“You have David Wells on your list of “hidden perfect games”, but then you say
that only one pitcher (Browning) had both a regular perfect game and a hidden
perfect game. Wells should also be on that list since he also pitched a
regular perfect game.”

That was my mistake, M.D. Wells’ only perfect game, hidden or otherwise, was
his 1998 gem. I should have left him out of the list of pitchers who threw
a strictly “hidden” (i.e., not otherwise recognized) perfect game.

The answer to the trivia question that I was looking for was Dennis Eckersley. The first reader to respond with that answer I was looking for was Dave Mitchell. Congrats, Dave!

However, I must confess that a mistake in my own research that eliminates
Eckersley as qualifying. The aptly named Wayne Pitcher, brought it to my attention:


“My educated guess as to the identity of the pitcher who pitched two hidden
perfect games is Dennis Eckersley, in 1977. I’m not sure if one of his hidden
perfect games was truly perfect–he faced the minimum number of batters for a
34-batter stretch over May 30 vs. California (his no-hitter) and June 3 vs.
Seattle, but Bobby Bonds reached base on a wild pitch 3rd strike in the 8th
of the May 30 game, though Don Baylor subsequently grounded into a double
play.”

Wayne is exactly right. The computer script I wrote to search for hidden
perfect games failed to recognize this case correctly, and thus I wrongly
credited Eckersley with two hidden perfect games in 1977. Similarly, Don Robinson was on my original list of hidden perfect game pitchers (albeit not one I mentioned in the article), but he also had a strikeout/wild pitch
combo 12 outs into the streak, allowing Alex Trevino to reach first base
safely. Trevino then stole a base, perhaps making Robinson’s close call
somewhat less “perfect” than Eckersley’s, where the runner was eliminated
on a double play by the next batter.

Sticklers for detail may want to know that Bert Blyleven actually allowed
a stolen base during his hidden perfect game. Blyleven’s streak started
when he struck out Reggie Jackson for the first out in the 2nd inning
on June 19th, 1985. But the leadoff batter that inning, Daryl Sconiers, had actually singled, was stole second while Jackson struck out. Sconiers was stranded at second, and Blyleven went on to retire every batter
he faced until surrendering a single to Jerry Narron on June 24th.

One of the more interesting responses to the article came in from
Bryce Chackerian, who wrote in on April 28th:


“Fun article on hidden perfect games. I noticed that Tim Harrikala is
working on his own perfect game. He’s retired all 17 hitters that
he’s faced this year. The interesting thing is that his last
appearance in the majors prior to 2004 was on May 26, 1999. He
pitched 2 innings for the Red Sox, and after giving up 2 runs on
three hits in the eighth inning, he finished strong, retiring the
side in the ninth. So, he’s retired 21 straight over a span of 5
years! I’m hoping that he retires the next 6, setting a record time
elapsed and making him arguably the worst pitcher ever to set down 27
in a row.”

Alas, Bryce wrote in on May 3rd with a folloup:


“In case you’re interested, Harrikala didn’t quite make it (a hidden
perfect game). After pitching 1.7 innings in Saturday’s first game
without yielding a baserunner (making 26 batters straight over a span
of 5 years), he walked a Brave. Too bad, it would have been a great
story.”

Agreed, Bryce. Thanks to you and everyone else who wrote in.