What is a complete game?
In the game of baseball, a complete game is a game in which a single pitcher pitches for the entire duration of the game. A complete game is also known as a “shutout” or a “complete-game shutout.” It is one of the most difficult feats to achieve in the sport and is usually reserved for the most talented pitchers.
History of the Complete Game
The complete game has been a part of baseball since the sport was invented. In the early days of the game, teams often employed only a single pitcher, and the expectation was that he would pitch the entire game. As the game evolved, teams began to use multiple pitchers, but the complete game remained a mark of distinction.
Notable Complete Games
Throughout baseball history, there have been numerous pitchers who have achieved the feat of a complete game. Some of the most famous complete games include:
- Cy Young: Young is widely regarded as one of the greatest pitchers of all time, and he is the all-time leader in complete games with 749. He holds the record for most complete games in a single season with 45 in 1904.
- Walter Johnson: Johnson is the second all-time leader in complete games with 531. He also holds the record for most consecutive complete games with 10, a streak that spanned from July 19 to August 11 in 1908.
- Bob Feller: Feller is third all-time in complete games with 279 and is the most recent pitcher to throw a complete game in the major leagues. Feller’s last complete game was on July 1, 1956.
Modern Day Complete Games
In today’s game, complete games are extremely rare. The average number of complete games in the major leagues has steadily declined over the years, with only one pitcher (Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers) throwing a complete game in the 2018 season.
The decline of the complete game can be attributed to several factors. The increased use of relief pitchers has made it easier for managers to make frequent pitching changes, thus reducing the likelihood of a pitcher throwing a complete game. Additionally, the advent of pitch count limits and innings limits have put a cap on the amount of innings a pitcher can throw in a single game.
The Benefits of the Complete Game
The complete game has many benefits for both the pitcher and the team. For starters, it allows the pitcher to save the bullpen from having to be used. This can be particularly beneficial for teams that are playing in a series of games and need to conserve their bullpen for the later games.
Additionally, the complete game also allows the pitcher to gain a better understanding of the opposing lineup. As the game progresses, the pitcher can learn how to best attack each hitter and can adjust his approach accordingly. This can lead to a better overall performance for the pitcher and for the team.
The Negative Effects of the Complete Game
While the complete game can be beneficial, it can also have some negative effects. For starters, it can put an undue amount of strain on the pitcher’s arm. As the game progresses, the pitcher’s arm can become tired and he can be more prone to making mistakes. This can lead to a higher number of runs being scored and can have a detrimental effect on the team’s overall performance.
Furthermore, the complete game can put a strain on the team’s bullpen. If the starter gets into trouble early, the bullpen will be forced to come in and pick up the slack. This can lead to a lack of rest for the bullpen, which can affect their performance in future games.
Has Any Pitcher Pitched a Whole Game?
The answer to this question is yes. Throughout baseball history, there have been numerous pitchers who have achieved the feat of a complete game. As previously mentioned, Cy Young holds the record for most complete games with 749, followed by Walter Johnson with 531 and Bob Feller with 279.
However, it is important to note that complete games are becoming increasingly rare in the modern game. In the 2018 season, only one pitcher (Justin Verlander) threw a complete game in the major leagues.
What Makes a Pitcher Good at Throwing a Complete Game?
There are several qualities that make a pitcher good at throwing a complete game. First and foremost, the pitcher must have the endurance and stamina to pitch for the entire game. This means that the pitcher must be able to maintain his velocity and accuracy throughout the entire game.
Additionally, the pitcher must have good command of all of his pitches. This allows him to mix up his pitches effectively and keep the hitters off balance. Finally, the pitcher must have a strong mental game. He must be able to remain focused and composed throughout the game and be able to make adjustments as the game progresses.
In conclusion, the complete game is one of the most difficult feats to achieve in the sport of baseball. It requires a great deal of endurance and mental toughness from the pitcher, as well as good command of all of his pitches. In today’s game, complete games are becoming increasingly rare, with only one pitcher throwing a complete game in the 2018 season. However, throughout baseball history, there have been numerous pitchers who have achieved the feat, and it remains a mark of distinction for the most talented pitchers.