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Perfection, by its very definition, is supposed to be an elusive, unattainable goal.
Try convincing Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay of that.
Major League Baseball went 34 years between its fifth and sixth perfect games, from the flawlessness of the White Sox Charlie Robertson over Detroit on April 30, 1922, to Yankee Don Larsen's one-of-a-kind 1956 World Series afternoon over the Dodgers.
Oakland's Braden and the Phillies' Halladay went just 20 days between Nos. 19 and 20.
It is not the first time two perfect games have been pitched in the same season -- but only if you are willing to admit the dead-ball era of the 1880s into modern company, and to consider Worcester Ruby Legs and Providence Grays big league peers of the Athletics and the Phillies.
On June 12, 1880, Lee Richmond of the Ruby Legs was perfect against the Cleveland Blues.
Only five days later, John Ward of the Grays repeated the feat over the Buffalo Bisons.
Otherwise, until the young left-hander and the slightly older and wiser right-hander two-timed the state of Florida -- Braden's Mother's Day perfection had come against the Tampa Bay Rays -- the shortest span between perfect games had been a little over 14 months.
The Yankees' David Wells (May 17, 1998, against the Twins) and David Cone (July 18, 1999, against the Expos) did it in consecutive seasons. As did the Phillies' Jim Bunning (June 21, 1964, in New York) and the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax (Sept. 9, 1965, against the Cubs)
Three days past the 51st anniversary of arguably the greatest game ever pitched -- left-hander Harvey Haddix's 12 perfect innings in a 13th-inning loss to the Braves on May 26, 1959 -- Halladay stamped his splendid career with immortality.
Of special note, apparently there is an infectious magic about being involved in the pitching of a perfect game, even for the hurler on the other side.
Halladay's gem was the sixth 1-0 game among the 20 perfectos; four others ended 2-0.