On this day 49 years ago, Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game ... in one hour and 43 minutes
With three no-hitters already to his name, Sandy Koufax one-upped himself on September 9th, 1965: he threw a perfect game. At the time it was only the eighth perfect game in Major League history and was the first perfecto by a southpaw since 1880.
It also wrapped up in plenty of time for people to go home and catch the evening news. While Koufax was perfect, striking out fourteen and only going to a three ball count three times, Koufax's opponent, Bob Hendley, nearly matched him. Hendley went eight innings, giving up only one run on one hit and one walk in the Cubs' 1-0 loss.
With both pitchers mowing down hitters, the game was a brisk one hour and 43 minutes, wrapping up at 9:46 pm. Which we know because of Vin Scully:
With the average length of Major League games eclipsing three hours this season, pace of play is an issue that many in baseball are concerned about. Leading the way is the independent Atlantic League.
Since August 1st, the league has instituted a number of rule changes intended to speed up the game. These include limiting coaching visits to the mound when a player isn't being removed, intentional walks being made automatic, and umpires enforcing the already-on-the-books rules that require pitchers to throw the ball within 12 seconds without a runner on base.
As Joe Delessio of Sports on Earth writes, it's working. Already the league has seen the average time of games drop by an average of nine minutes with 22% of them finishing in less than two-and-a-half hours.
But no matter how many pace of play rules are enacted, there will probably never be another ballgame like the one Red Barrett threw on August 10, 1944. On that day, Barrett needed only 58 pitches to lead his Boston Braves to a victory over the Cincinnati Reds, the game wrapping up in a remarkable one hour and fifteen minutes. Barrett would go on to write that this was his 'biggest thrill' in his Major League career.