Dan Lependorf, over the Hardball Times, puts together a graph detailing how impressive Matt Cain’s Perfecto really was:
blockquote>…. If a pitcher strikes out 14 batters in a single game, it’ll be the lead story on every sports news program of the night. After all, it’s only happened a few hundred times in baseball history. If a pitcher throws a perfect game, it’s one of those landmark events that’ll be sold on DVD in the MLB.com store. And people will buy it, because hey, it’s a perfect game. Only 22 of those.
But both of them at the same time? Congratulations, Matt Cain. You just had one of the best nights from any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
But then Bill James –who Lependorf cites in his article– writes (subscription required) that Cain’s game, while very impressive, isn’t even close to being the best pitched game of all-time:
…. The Game Score for Joe Oeschger, when he pitched 26 innings one afternoon, was 153, a feat beyond the understanding of modern fans. But in the last 60 years, Dean Chance against the Yankees on June 6, 1964, had the highest Game Score on record—116. 14 innings, 3 hits, 12 strikeouts, no runs.
James then goes on to chart the best games, seasons and careers using his Game Score method. It’s a great read, and well worth the $3 bucks a month you have to pay for access to Bill James Online.