Thirteen years ago today, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson threw the 17th perfect game (including postseason) in major league history.
The 40-year-old Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner, broke a mark held by Cy Young: He became the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game. Young previously held the distinction, having thrown one at age 37 for the now-Red Sox against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1904.
Johnson's was the first no-hitter in the seven-season history of the Diamondbacks, and it was the first time the Braves had been no-hit since 1979 (Ken Forsch of the Astros). Johnson was originally drafted by the Braves in 1982 but chose to go to USC instead.
Johnson’s 13 strikeouts were one shy of the record for most in a perfect game. Sandy Koufax’s mark of 14 would later be matched by Giants pitcher Matt Cain.
Particularly sweet for Johnson in the perfect game was that he struck out one batter three times: Braves star Chipper Jones, whose six home runs against Johnson are tied for the most by any batter against him. The only other batter to homer six times off Johnson was Albert Pujols.
Johnson became the fifth pitcher to throw a perfect game and a no-hitter, joining Hall of Famers Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning and Sandy Koufax. Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle have since joined that list.
He also became the sixth pitcher to throw a no-hitter in two leagues, along with Ted Breitenstein, Hideo Nomo, Nolan Ryan, Jim Bunning and Cy Young.
There was one unifying bond between Johnson’s perfect game and his no-hitter against the Tigers in 1990. In each game, he threw 87 strikes.
The 14 years between the two no-hitters marked the longest separation all time.
The perfect game was pretty much the lone highlight of the season for the Diamondbacks. The team finished 51-111, by far the worst record in franchise history.