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Original Issue

So Close, Yet ...

Done in by only the tiniest of imperfections, these men fell just short of the ultimate

Not every pitcher has been fortunate enough to have a spectacular catch like Dewayne Wise's to preserve a perfect-game bid. Here are SI's six greatest brushes with perfection that ultimately proved unsuccessful:

1. June 23, 1917.
Red Sox righthander Ernie Shore retired 26 Senators in succession in a 4--0 win. Problem is, he entered in relief of Babe Ruth, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after he walked Washington's first batter, Ray Morgan. On Shore's first pitch Morgan was caught stealing, and no Senator reached base the rest of the way. Officially, the game is a joint no-hitter for Ruth and Shore.

2. July 10, 2009.
Though he'd been demoted to the bullpen two weeks earlier, Giants lefthander Jonathan Sanchez made a spot start in place of an injured Randy Johnson. Starting in front of his father, Sigfredo, for the first time as a big leaguer, Sanchez struck out 11 and only missed a perfect game when Juan Uribe--who had moved from second base to third in the seventh inning—booted a ground ball at the start of the eighth inning.

3. Sept. 2, 1972.
One out away from throwing a perfecto against the Padres, Cubs righthander Milt Pappas got ahead 1 and 2 on pinch hitter Larry Stahl, then threw three straight borderline balls. Pappas later said that before retiring the next batter to complete the no-hitter, he called home plate umpire Bruce Froemming every name he could think of in English before continuing in Greek.

4. Aug. 15, 1990.
The only base runner that Phillies lefthander Terry Mulholland allowed against the Giants was Rick Parker, who reached on a seventh-inning throwing error by Charlie Hayes. However, Hayes redeemed himself on the game's final play when he made a lunging catch of pinch hitter Gary Carter's line drive to preserve Mulholland's no-hitter. Hayes, though, didn't think he had anything to make up for. "The throw wasn't that bad," he said after the game. "[First baseman John Kruk] stretched too soon. I'm not sure I deserve the error."

5. July 19, 1974.
All that stood between Dick Bosman and a perfect game was the Indians righthander's own arm, which had been good enough to strike out four A's, produce seven fly-outs and induce 15 groundouts for a no-hitter. However, it was a 16th ground ball—a fourth-inning chopper back to Bosman—that proved troublesome. The pitcher's throw to first sailed over first baseman Tom McCraw's head for an error, allowing Sal Bando to reach base, the only Oakland runner of the game.

6. June 27, 1980.
Jerry Reuss knew he had no-hit stuff from the beginning of his start against the Giants. "I began to think about it from the very first inning," the Dodgers' lefthander said afterward. A perfect game was out of the question, though. Normally reliable shortstop Bill Russell botched a throw on a Jack Clark grounder in that very first inning.



SHORE THING In 1917, Shore (right) picked up an ejected Babe by putting down 26 straight hitters.