• Kurtis Tatkenhorst

July 23- Mark Buehrle pitches 18th Perfect Game in MLB History

2009- On this day in Sports History, Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox completed one of the hardest and rarest things in sports which is pitching a perfect game. It was just the 18th perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball with the first one being thrown in 1880. It was also the first perfect game since Randy Johnson pitched one in 2004 and it was the first perfect game by a White Sox pitcher since Charlie Robertson pitched one in 1922.

Jerry Lai/US Presswire

Mark Buehrle’s perfect game came as the Chicago White Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0. It was an afternoon home game for the White Sox and it held at US Cellular Field in Chicago. Buehrle got all 27 batters that he faced in the game out without allowing anyone to reach first base. He used 116 pitches during the game and the final out came from a ground ball by Jason Bartlett. The White Sox scored four of their runs in the second inning with a grand slam from Josh Fields. They added their fifth run in the fifth inning to make the game 5-0.

Buehrle pitched an outstanding game, but was helped with an incredible catch by Dewayne Wise who saved his perfect game. Gabe Kapler led off the 9th inning for Tampa Bay when he hit a ball that went over the center field wall and would have been a home run had Wise not jumped and reached over the wall to make an incredible catch. Wise, who entered the game in the 9th inning as defensive replacement, not only saved the perfect game, but also the shut-out with his home run robbing catch.

Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/Associated Press

This was Mark Buehrle’s first career perfect game but his second career no-hitter. His first career no-hitter came on April 18, 2007 as the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 6-0. Buehrle had the same home plate umpire for both of his no hitters. Eric Cooper was the home plate umpire for his no-hitter in 2007 and his perfect game in 2009.

On the opposite side of the perfect game, the Tampa Bay Rays allowed a perfect game that would end up being the first of three perfect games and first of four no-hitters that they would allow in the next three years. Tampa Bay would go on to allow the 19th perfect game in MLB history to Dallas Braden and the Oakland Athletics in 2010 and the 23rd perfect game in MLB history to Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners in 2012. Tampa Bay would also allow a no hitter to Edwin Jackson and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010.

At the end of Mark Buehrle’s perfect game on this day in 2009, he got to celebrate with not only his teammates and family on the field, but he also received a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama who, as a Chicago native, is a huge White Sox fan.


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Sources:

“Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox Box Score, July 23, 2009.” Baseball Reference

Scott Merkin. “On One Perfect Day, Buehrle Shocks Himself.” MLB.com, MLB, 23 July 2019

“Perfect Games.” Baseball Almanac, www.baseball-almanac.com/pitching/piperf.shtml.

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