Curt Schilling: A Perfect Game Is More Luck Than Talent, Simply A Pitcher Doing Something Special

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Throwing a perfect game is more about luck than talent according to Curt Schilling. I heard that and went WOW, what the hell is he talking about. By the end of the clip, I agreed with him.

As Curt said, “Throwing a perfect game is probably more about luck than talent. Because Pedro, Maddox, Clemens, Glavine, Smoltz, (even) I never threw one. None of us ever threw a perfect game or a no hitter and I think the number one reason is we all threw too many strikes. You have to be effectively wild to throw a no hitter, but not in a perfect game.

Of course, part of that luck is that your team has to have your back in the field.

Let’s start with the facts about perfect games. There have been 24 of them since baseball began being played professionally. We’re talking 2 of them in 1880 when 8 balls were a walk. Cy Young threw one in 1904, the first of 3 more before 1956.

BOSTON – 1908. Cy Young, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He pitched his no hitter in 1880 when Boston were the American’s. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)

The World Series Perfect Game

In 1956, we got the first of the other 19 perfect games, 34 years after the last of the first 5. Don Larsen tossed a no-hitter in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. With the series tied at 2, Larsen struck out 7 on his way to 27 straight outs. Larsen said he had perfect control in that game.

Curt Schilling’s best shot at a No hitter/perfect game was against the A’s in 2007. He said, “There’s the one time I lost mine in the ninth with two outs because I’m an idiot. But that would have been a perfect game if the shortstop had not kicked the routine ground ball in the sixth inning. I punched out four that day, my stuff was certainly not dominating.”

Shannon Stewart lined a clean single with 2 outs in the 9th on the first pitch. Ironically, Schilling shook off catcher Jason Varitek’s slider call. He wanted to throw heat, and Stewart lined the fastball to center.

Yankees Have 4

Domingo German’s gem Wednesday joined Larsen, David Cone and David Wells. Curt questioned how pitchers felt the day they pitched the perfectly. “Well, I don’t know that you know it when you leave the pen. I’ve heard more no hitter stories about guys who felt like crap and almost throw no hitter or did than guys who felt great.”

David Wells tossed a perfect game on May 17th, 1998, with a raging hangover. (MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images)

Look at the Wells perfect game. In 1998, Wells K’d 11 on his way to his perfect game win versus the Twins. He pitched the Sunday matinee after attending Saturday Night Live the night before and then attending the after party. He told the NY Post on Monday, “So I ended up going and one thing led to another and at about 5:30 in the morning I came strolling in, just schnockered, so I only got a couple hours of sleep.”

The list of 24 pitchers who have joined this club has both Hall of Famers and just guys who made some starts in the majors. For every Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay or David Cone who were perfect, there is a Matt Cain, Mike Witt or Len Barker. Don Larsen was a career sub .500 pitcher.

As Curt said, throwing a perfect game is special, but it doesn’t make you a great pitcher. It makes you a pitcher who did something special.

Written by Bill Graff

Lifelong fan of all things sports and of common sense. I watch a lot of sports, just ask my wife. Go Terps. I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

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  1. Put it this way…put German in the other team’s uniform, and assume he has the same stuff as he had that night…he’s not throwing a perfect game. You can’t do it without the rest of the defense. And with a defense like the A’s have, it’s just not happening.

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