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The Art of the Immaculate Inning: History Records and Rarity

Immaculate Inning in Baseball

If you are a baseball enthusiast, you may have heard about the term “immaculate inning.” This rare feat is not only difficult to achieve, but it’s also a testament to the pitching skill of the player. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about immaculate innings in baseball.

Definition and History:

An immaculate inning, otherwise known as a clean inning or a perfect frame, is a term used in baseball to describe when a pitcher throws nine consecutive strikes and records three strikeouts, achieving three outs in one half-inning with only nine pitches. The term immaculate inning was coined by Boston Beaneaters pitcher Red Barrett in 1944.

Since then, immaculate innings have become a rare but coveted feat in baseball. Types of Immaculate Innings:

Reliever Immaculate Inning:

Immaculate innings are not limited to starting pitchers but are equally impressive when achieved by relievers.

A reliever immaculate inning is when a relief pitcher retires all three batters they face with just nine pitches, each being strikes. Bases Loaded Immaculate Inning:

Another variation of an immaculate inning is the bases loaded immaculate inning, which means the pitcher records nine consecutive strikes against batters while all three bases are loaded.

This type of immaculate inning is even more challenging to achieve. Notable Immaculate Innings:

The Houston Astros hold the record for the most immaculate innings in a single season, achieving four in 2019.

The Tampa Bay Rays are the only team to have three different pitchers record an immaculate inning. The Philadelphia Athletics hold the record for the most immaculate innings in a single game, achieving two in one matchup against the Boston Red Sox in 1922.

Ryan Spaeder, a baseball statistician, reports that as of 2021, there have been only 101 immaculate innings in the history of Major League Baseball, making it one of the most challenging accomplishments for a pitcher. Rarity of Immaculate Innings:

Compared to other rare accomplishments such as the perfect game, an immaculate inning is equally impressive.

However, Ryan Spaeder, a baseball statistician, reports that there have been only 101 immaculate innings in the history of Major League Baseball, whereas there have been 23 perfect games recorded. Although the immaculate inning is not as rare as a perfect game, it remains a coveted record among pitchers.

Explanation of Immaculate Inning:

Pitcher:

An immaculate inning requires all nine pitches to be thrown by one pitcher. Nine Consecutive Strikes:

To record an immaculate inning, a pitcher must throw nine consecutive strikes.

Achieving this is challenging as even the best pitchers will sometimes throw balls. Three Strikeouts:

In addition to throwing nine consecutive strikes, the pitcher is also required to get three strikeouts.

This means that the three batters that they face during the inning should be struck out in succession. Half-Inning:

An immaculate inning occurs during one half-inning, which means it does not matter how many runs the opposing team scored in the prior inning.

The pitcher must pitch nine strikes to the three batters they face in one-half inning. Variations of Immaculate Innings:

Nine Swings and Misses:

Although the traditional definition of an immaculate inning requires at least three strikeouts, there is a variation where a pitcher can record nine swings and misses in nine pitches.

Bases Loaded and No Outs:

A bases loaded and no outs immaculate inning refers to a pitcher throwing nine consecutive strikes to three batters while the three bases are loaded. It is believed that this type of immaculate inning is the rarest.

Naming of Immaculate Inning:

Pitch Perfectly:

To throw an immaculate inning, the pitcher must pitch the ball perfectly. Each ball should be thrown with pinpoint accuracy and must avoid the batter’s swing.

Terminology:

The term “immaculate inning” was coined by pitcher Red Barrett during a game where he threw nine consecutive strikes in one inning, striking out three batters in a row. Relief Pitchers:

Immaculate innings are often associated with starting pitchers.

However, relief pitchers can also achieve this rare feat.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the immaculate inning is a rare accomplishment in baseball that requires a great deal of skill and precision. The pitcher must throw nine consecutive strikes and get three strikeouts in one-half inning.

There are different variations of immaculate innings, including the bases loaded immaculate inning and nine consecutive swings and misses. While it is not as rare as a perfect game, it remains a coveted record among pitchers.

History and Records of Immaculate Innings

On September 27th, 2022, a rookie hurler achieved a rare feat in baseball by throwing an immaculate inning. This accomplishment added to the total number of immaculate innings thrown, which currently stands at 112 in the history of Major League Baseball.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the history and records of immaculate innings in baseball. First Immaculate Inning:

Pitcher John Clarkson was the first player to achieve an immaculate inning in professional baseball.

On June 4, 1889, during a game between the Boston Beaneaters and the Philadelphia Phillies, Clarkson threw nine consecutive strikes, resulting in three outs that were strikeouts. This feat was not repeated again until May 12, 1902, when Rube Waddell threw an immaculate inning for the Athletics.

Recent Immaculate Innings:

In September of 2021, Enyel De Los Santos achieved an immaculate inning against the Chicago Cubs. He started the inning by striking out Ian Happ and followed up with strikeouts against Patrick Wisdom and Robinson Chirinos.

The immaculate inning was especially noteworthy because De Los Santos was a reliever at the time, and it was the first time in four years that a reliever managed the rare feat. In May 2019, Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox threw an immaculate inning against the Baltimore Orioles.

Sale struck out Hanser Alberto, Jonathan Villar, and Trey Mancini, requiring just nine pitches to get three outs in the inning. In May 2021, Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays threw an immaculate inning against the Cleveland Indians.

Glasnow fired nine consecutive strikes to strike out the side, including Harold Ramirez, Andrs Gimnez, and Cesar Hernandez.

Recently, on August 20, 2022, relief pitcher Carter Bins of the Pittsburgh Pirates achieved an immaculate inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Bins struck out the side – Drew Ellis, Varsho, and Fuentes – in nine pitches. Immaculate Game:

While an immaculate inning remains a rare feat, no player has ever thrown an immaculate game, which requires the pitcher to get 27 consecutive outs with just 81 pitches, all strikes.

There have been 23 perfect games in major league history, meaning the pitcher retired every batter he faced in a single game without giving up any hits, walks or errors, but an immaculate game has never been accomplished. Records of Immaculate Innings:

Nolan Ryan is among the most prominent players known for pitching immaculate innings.

In total, he pitched two immaculate innings, both for the New York Mets. The first immaculate inning happened on July 15, 1973, when he struck out three on nine pitches against the Cincinnati Reds.

Ryan’s second immaculate inning was pitched for the California Angels on May 24, 1984, when he retired the side in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays. Rarity of Immaculate Innings vs.

Perfect Games:

While an immaculate inning is a rare accomplishment, it happens more frequently than a perfect game. A statistical analysis by Ryan Spaeder showed that as of 2021, there have been 101 immaculate innings thrown in Major League Baseball, compared to only 23 perfect games.

When compared side by side, the odds of throwing a perfect game are statistically lower than the odds of throwing an immaculate inning. Foul Balls and Immaculate Innings:

It’s worth noting that the immaculate inning excludes foul balls.

In other words, a pitcher is required to throw nine consecutive strikes without any interference from the batter. This differentiates the immaculate inning from a nine-pitch inning, where the pitcher records three outs on nine pitches, but the outs may not be strikeouts.

Conclusion:

Immaculate innings remain a rare and challenging accomplishment in baseball. While the feat has been achieved over 100 times in Major League Baseball history, it remains a coveted record among pitchers.

With the unique naming and widely recognized achievement to its credit, we can expect to continue seeing players strive to achieve an immaculate inning in the years to come. In summary, the history and records of immaculate innings in baseball are a testament to a pitcher’s skill and precision.

Achieving an immaculate inning is rare, though it has been accomplished more than 100 times in Major League Baseball history. While not as rare as a perfect game, it remains a coveted record among pitchers and showcases their impressive capabilities on the mound.

FAQs:

– What is an immaculate inning? An immaculate inning refers to when a pitcher throws nine consecutive strikes and records three strikeouts, achieving three outs in one half-inning with only nine pitches.

– How many immaculate innings have been thrown in MLB history? There have been 112 immaculate innings thrown in Major League Baseball history as of September 2022.

– Who was the first pitcher to achieve an immaculate inning? John Clarkson was the first player to achieve an immaculate inning in professional baseball on June 4, 1889.

– How does an immaculate inning compare to a perfect game? While an immaculate inning is a rare feat, there have been 23 perfect games in Major League Baseball history.

However, an immaculate game where a pitcher records 27 consecutive outs with just 81 pitches has never been accomplished. – Can foul balls be involved in an immaculate inning?

No, an immaculate inning requires a pitcher to throw nine consecutive strikes without any interference from the batter.

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