Perfection, and a note on imperfection

Burlington’s Chris Coughlin threw a 3-0 perfect game–nine innings–at the Snappers last night.  Wish I’d been there.


A Note on Imperfection

Because of this game, I’ve learned of a previously undocumented MWL perfect game.

Press coverage of last night’s game led Elwin Huffman to find the no-hitter list on MWLguide.com, and to send me a note about the list.  He’d seen Waterloo’s Bob Link pitch a perfecto in 1985 and was interested in why no one knew about it.  The short answer is that my list is no better than my sources.  I wrote about this in a note to the Midwest League Mailing List (gone, now) on March 3, 2002 (there’s some editing; I removed an example):

There are no fully reliable sources of information about Midwest League history. Those of us who research MWL history find recording mistakes almost every time we look into something. This is mainly because the records are kept by fallible human beings; fifty-five years is a long stretch and affords many opportunities for errors.

This note because I’ve been systematically comparing no-hitter lists:

  • There’s a list in the annual MWL Record Book.
  • The list on my website was compiled from the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, and supplemented from other sources.
  • The Sporting News Guides list the previous season’s no hitters for each league, in every edition.
  • Baseball America‘s season writeups usually list no hitters for the season being covered.

These lists don’t agree with each other, and I don’t honestly believe any are correct. The Record Book‘s list, which you’d expect to be accurate, is the worst of the lot; to all appearances, it was edited to fit the page. Predictably, this has led to reporting errors.

Mr. Huffman has volunteered to document the game for me (and presumably for the MWL office as well), an offer I’ll certainly accept.  But a quick check via Paper of Record verifies the game.  The August 5, 1985, issue of The Sporting News has this on page 41:

Indians Mixing screwballs and sinkers with an occasional fastball, righthander Bob Link pitched a seven-inning perfect game for Waterloo (Midwest) in the nightcap of a July 25 doubleheader with Clinton.  Link, the Tribe’s 37th selection in the amateur draft, struck out eight in the 10-0 victory, his fourth in a row after a loss in his debut.

I’ll fix the listing on my site tonight, and pass the word to the League office.


Credit where it’s due:  The Paper of Record subscription was discounted because I’m a member of SABR.