How many pitchers have thrown an immaculate inning in MLB history?
The second Pirate to throw an immaculate inning this month, Johan Oviedo is the first Cuban pitcher in history to accomplish the amazing feat.
The Pittsburgh Pirates may have lost to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, but they didn’t go down without a fight. With a razor-thin margin between the two teams at 3-2, the brightest spark for the Pirates was on the mound, specifically the fourth inning when Johan Oviedo entered the history books when he threw the 114th immaculate inning in MLB history.
An immaculate inning, for the uninitiated, is when a pitcher strikes out the side using the minimum number of pitches to do it. Three strikes to three batters, or nine pitches, to retire the side.
In over a century and a half of major league baseball, while there have been 114 immaculate innings thrown, it has been very much a modern phenomenon. With much of baseball’s history focusing on contact hitting rather than swinging for the fences, it has been one of the most difficult milestones to achieve.
In the first century and a half of MLB record keeping, there were only a total of 31 immaculate innings thrown. Since the 1990′s however, there have been double digits per decade, with 83 total thrown over the last 30 years.
On Wednesday, with the contest very much in the balance, Johan Oviedo threw nine pitches in the fourth inning to strike out Jonah Heim, Robbie Grossman, and Josh Smith in order. In doing so, Oviedo is the second pirate to throw one in the month of May. Colin Holderman also threw one on May 4 against Tampa Bay in the seventh inning.
Oviedo said of this fact, “It’s amazing. It’s also great that one of my teammates did it first. Now I did it. It’s exciting. It’s really hard to do that in baseball, so I’m excited about that.”
Closer perhaps to his heart is the fact that Oviedo is the first Cuban-born player to throw an immaculate inning in the history of the MLB. That is a fact that will see his name written large across the hearts of his countrymen.
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