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Let’s start a debate - immaculate innings

MrMet

Well-known member
Apr 6, 2010
12,827
The Poconos
However you feel about immaculate innings not withstanding...but it’s striking out the side on 9 pitches...it’s only been done a handful of times. Here’s a link to all the times it’s happened.
https://www.mlb.com/news/immaculate-innings-c265720420
Now, the topic of the debate...who’s immaculate inning was most impressive? Maybe a lesser known pitcher doing it, or any pitcher against the most impressive 3 batters? What say you?


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bstanwood

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2016
3,087
Mystic, CT
I think in today's game where all or nothing is so much more common it's overblown. Yes it's a difficult thing to do, the numbers show that without question but my thought the first time I heard the term was who cares. All that aside to me any pitcher who gets three guys who are batting .280ish or over I more impressive because it's simply harder to strike out batters who have higher contact rates. Not many teams field a lineup like that these days though.
 

Austin

Active member
Aug 7, 2008
5,655
Oahu, Hawaii
I think a lot of it has to do with luck, similar to normally-mediocre or bad pitchers throwing no-hitters.

Sure some great pitchers have thrown Immaculate Innings, but about half of the list from the past five years also includes such legendary fireballers as:

Chris Martin
Thomas Pannone
Zac Rosscup
German Marquez
Juan Nicasio
Santiago Casilla
Carlos Contreras
Rex Brothers
Brad Boxberger

It's cool when you see it happen though.

It's interesting that Ichiro has been a victim of two Immaculate Innings. I bet he didn't strike out on three pitches very much in his career.

And it's crazy that it didn't happen once in 25 years between 1928 and 1953.
 

bstanwood

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2016
3,087
Mystic, CT
I think a lot of it has to do with luck, similar to normally-mediocre or bad pitchers throwing no-hitters.

Sure some great pitchers have thrown Immaculate Innings, but about half of the list from the past five years also includes such legendary fireballers as:

Chris Martin
Thomas Pannone
Zac Rosscup
German Marquez
Juan Nicasio
Santiago Casilla
Carlos Contreras
Rex Brothers
Brad Boxberger

It's cool when you see it happen though.

It's interesting that Ichiro has been a victim of two Immaculate Innings. I bet he didn't strike out on three pitches very much in his career.

And it's crazy that it didn't happen once in 25 years between 1928 and 1953.
I don't think it's crazy at all that it didn't happen between 28 and 53, maybe a law of large numbers would suggest it should have happened once but there was such an emphasis on contact/not striking out then add in all the other factors like wartime watering down the talent pool, preintegration and such. Seems to me its much more likely a below average pitcher could do it now than an above average pitcher in any other time period. Chicks dig the long ball, but apparently they also don't mind high strike out totals
 

smapdi

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
4,196
I was watching the Astros the other day and saw Will Harris's. He mowed the first two guys down and I think the announcer said something about it being a 3-pitch strikeout and I remembered the first one was, too. He started with a strike on #3 and I started wondering if it might happen. Sure enough it did and I yelled out "Perfect inning!" because I couldn't remember the word "immaculate." Then they talked about that for the rest of the game.

I don't know how I feel about it. It's just one of those things that happens, and someone made up a name for it and it gives the big data guys something else to chew up data for and it gets noted on a guy's baseball card the next year like a merit badge. Like Golden Sombrero or a Cycle. I'm more impressed by three-pitch innings, I suppose, but the Immaculate is sort of cool, too. Or the zero-pitch save. I saw a guy come in with 2 outs and his first and only action was to pick off the runner from first to end the game. That's gotta be some sort of record.

What would be really cool is the 12-pitch 4-K inning, where the catcher drops a third strike, runner gets to first, pitcher credited with a K but no out is made, so he 3-pitch Ks the other batters. I think Verlander might do that someday.

I suppose the large gaps in occurance, other than possibly imperfect record-keeping (it really didn't happen even once in 24 years, or 532,000+ innings?), is possibly the result of pitching and hitting philosophy as it had been for generations. On 0-2 counts, pitchers were always taught to waste one out of the zone, since the hitter would supposedly be desperate and chase it, which probably happened a minority of the time, but it would most likely be fouled off or allowed to be called a ball, soiling the inning. Now, with supposedly constricted strike zones and seemingly every pitcher capable of throwing 95+, 0-2 is the signal to crank it up for a K. And hitters have no stigma about striking out and seemingly every hitter is trying to homer every AB so they have the green light to swing on every pitch. Seems like a perfect situation to yield a lot of Immaculate Innings.
 
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raddison1972

Member
Jan 4, 2013
63
Pearland, Texas
I would question how this list was created. With stat keeping being so variable through the years, I doubt this is the full list. Also, there are many of these kinds of "stats" that aren't really good indicators of anything. Kinda like game winning RBI, or most triples in a game (Dunstan, Clemente and some guy in the 1800's???). Need to look that up, used to know the triples answer! Nod to the other that mentioned "Golden Sombrero" one of my personal favorites. I think in today's game Platinum Sombrero probably needs to be adopted! It's what makes baseball the best in my opinion with all these weird outcomes you can get and the novelty of how rare some are.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,780
Didn't study or chart the list, but I did see Koufax 3 times. A fair number of the big name flame throwers in recent times did it, which is not surprising. Ryan, Gibson, Koufax, Johnson, etc.

I suppose it is possible, in relief only, to retire the side on 1 pitch. Wonder if that has happened before. Guy comes in the game with men on base and tosses 1 pitch that becomes a triple play!
 

goobmcnasty

Active member
Apr 4, 2014
1,572
In 2002, Kerry Wood struck out 4 batters in one inning in 13 pitches, but he isn't mentioned on any "immaculate innings" lists... even though the first 3 batters were struck out on 9 pitches.
 

goobmcnasty

Active member
Apr 4, 2014
1,572
Didn't study or chart the list, but I did see Koufax 3 times. A fair number of the big name flame throwers in recent times did it, which is not surprising. Ryan, Gibson, Koufax, Johnson, etc.

I suppose it is possible, in relief only, to retire the side on 1 pitch. Wonder if that has happened before. Guy comes in the game with men on base and tosses 1 pitch that becomes a triple play!
Pitchers have gotten Wins without ever throwing a pitch. (Coming on in relief and picking a batter off, etc)
 

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