1968: A Perfect Game

Here is what I wrote a few years ago.

Wednesday May 8, 1968
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Catfish Hunter came as close to winning a game all by himself as a player can get in the game of baseball.

Hunter faced 27 Twins, and retired each of them. He had 11 strikeouts, three of which came against Harmon Killebrew; and the Twins’ lineup only managed to hit six balls out of the infield.

Twins pitcher Dave Boswell did not allow an Oakland run until the seventh inning. With Rick Monday on third due to a double and a wild pitch, Hunter executed a bunt that he was able to beat out for a run-scoring single.

Hunter was not through, however. With the bases loaded and a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Catfish delivered a two-run single off of Ron Perranoski.

At the end of the night, Hunter had not only pitched a perfect game, but had knocked in three of his team’s four runs, including the game-winner. Unfortunately, only 6,298 fans were present to witness the first American League regular season perfect game since 1922. The New York Times billed it as the 10th perfect game in major league history, but is actually recognized as the ninth (the NYT was likely counting Harvey Haddix’s nine perfect innings in a game that he ended up losing in 1959).

The Twins have been on the losing end of two of the 17 perfect games in major league history.

Here is the boxscore. As a pitcher, Hunter compiled .489 WPA. He added another .190 with his bat. In total, Catfish Hunter was worth .679 WPA. The other eight men who saw action against the Twins that day only added .321 WPA, meaning that my suggestion that Hunter came close to winning  the game by himself is pretty accurate.
Here is an argument that Hunter’s performance was the best individual performance in major league history.

One Response to 1968: A Perfect Game

  1. […] 1968: A Perfect Game « Coffeyville Whirlwind […]

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