This was a first: the best part of last night's Cubs game was the Rain Delay. WGN played highlights from its 70 year baseball broadcast history.
One of the usual Cub historical highlight was Milt Pappas' 1972 "near" perfect game. He walked the next-to-last batter with two outs in the 9th inning on what he believed was a questionable call. The camera angle was behind home plate so the viewer cannot tell, but Pappas reaction on the mound to the call was nuclear.
Pappas was bitter for the rest of his life because of that ball four call.
A perfect game is baseball is defined as pitching a complete game where no runner gets on base by any means (walk, drop third strike, error). But is that definition of perfection really perfect?
Perfect is defined in the dictionary as having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless; precisely accurate; and exact.
If you are a starter, what would you classify as the perfect, perfect game?
Pat Hughes continues to say that Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game was the greatest pitching performance he has ever seen. That may be some biased Cub-homer opinion for Wood's accomplishment. But for an old school, power pitcher, the strike out was the goal against every batter. "You can't hit my stuff." "Take you bat between your legs and get some bench!" That is the mentality.
The "perfect" perfect game would be a pitcher striking out 27 batters in a row. The most strikeouts in a perfect game was 14 by Sandy Koufax (1965) and Matt Cain (2012).
But we live today in an era of pitch count on starters. It would be more difficult to have this kind of perfect game: 27 outs in 27 pitches. This improbable rarity would mean that every batter would be swinging on the first pitch. In order to be enticing, the starter would have to throw batting practice speed to the plate and hope his fielders can make every play. But that would mean every pitch was a strike and an out - - - it would be as good as it could get with no flaws (balls).
Baseball has its own language, but when we hear a pitcher is in the midst of a perfect game, is it really "perfect" or just "greater" than a plain no-hitter?