05/09/10 11:08 PM ET
For 26-year-olds, 27 outs are no problem
Braden among pitchers at their best in their mid-20s
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
It represents the number of outs a pitcher needs to complete a game. The mid-20s are the golden years for players. And on Sunday, Oakland's Dallas Braden hit his prime.
The 26-year-old unleashed the 19th perfect game in Major League history in Oakland's 4-0 win over the Rays at the Oakland Coliseum. Earlier this season, Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez, 26, threw a no-hitter against Atlanta. Jonathan Sanchez was also 26 when he threw a no-hitter for the Giants last season.
In 2002, Florida's Anibal Sanchez was a little younger, when he threw a no-hitter at 22.
When it comes to historical games, these young men prove that age is not just a number. It might be the number that counts the most.
In the eight no-hitters in the American League since Hideo Nomo, then 32, tossed a no-no for Boston against Baltimore in 2001, the average age for pitchers who accomplished the feat is 26.8. Excluding Chicago White Sox star Mark Buehrle, who threw a perfect game at the ripe old age of 30 last season, the average age for the last five no-hitters in the AL is 25.
Including Braden, the average age for the last six perfect games is 33.
Who loved the 1990s? It was the era of Bill Clinton, the Spice Girls, "Seinfeld," and men throwing no-hitters during their 20s.
In the 10 American League no-hitters by one pitcher in the 1990s that followed Nolan Ryan's feat on May 1, 1991, the average age was 28.3. At 44, Ryan set the record for age and the number of no-hitters (seven) that eventful day in Arlington.
Amos Rusie was the youngest pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the modern era, when he threw a no-no in 1891 at the age of 20 years, two months for the New York Giants.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.