The perfect game in baseball isn’t impossible; it’s just extremely rare. The last perfect game in Major League Baseball– when a pitcher gets every batter out in order without anyone ever reaching base for any reason (27 batters up and 27 batters down) - was thrown by Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners on August 15, 2012. And in all the years and games played in the pros, the perfect game has only been achieved 23 times. Or for statistically inclined folks, that’s less than one in about every 18,000 games.
In other sports, perfection is also difficult. We may remember the amazing Olympic performances of Mary Lou Retton in 1984, who scored a perfect 10 in the floor exercise and the vault. Her perfect scores followed Nadia Comaneci’s seven perfect 10s at the Montreal Olympics four years earlier.
But not one perfect 10 has been scored in a major international gymnastics’ competition since 1992 and, due to a complicated scoring system, it is unlikely we will see any perfect 10s in the Olympics again.
More attainable, the perfect score in bowling is a 300, which has been achieved by many bowlers at all levels of play. To score a perfect 300 in bowling, the player must roll a strike in the first nine frames and three strikes in the last frame. More difficult and requiring more consistency, a 900 series is bowling three consecutive 300 games, which has been confirmed to have been achieved by collegiate bowler Jeremy Sonnenfeld in 1997, twice by teenager Robert Mushtare in 2005 and 2006 and by an additional 27 bowlers.
A slight imperfection in the gymnast’s landing, an error by a fielder, or one pin left standing in 300, means the athlete is not perfect.
But, in many, if not most athletic endeavors, being imperfect is good enough. Most people who bowl a 299 will win the game. A team that records a “no-hitter,” even if a player reaches base on an error, will most likely win the game. A gymnast who performs a routine perfectly but has a slight bobble on the landing, is still likely to win the event.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish