We all remember when Dallas Braden threw a perfect game for the Oakland A’s. Let’s just say that he wasn’t at his best that day.
Some of the most impressive games in baseball history have happened when those players were not in their right mind. Dock Ellis had his infamous no hitter when he claimed to be high on LSD. David Wells threw a perfect game with a “raging hangover.” Nolan Ryan felt every one of his 44 years of age when he threw his seventh no hitter.
When Dallas Braden threw his perfect game for the Oakland A’s on May 9, 2010, he was apparently channeling his inner Wells. Braden said that he “wasn’t following protocol,” which essentially meant that he had been up drinking the night before.
Whatever he did that night worked. Braden threw just 109 pitches that day, shutting down the Rays, who had held the best record in the majors to that point. He struck out six batters, as his perfect game happened just one day after the 42nd anniversary of the one pitched by Catfish Hunter in 1968.
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Prior to that game, Braden had been somewhat known in the baseball world, but only because of his feud with Alex Rodriguez. He had claimed that Rodriguez had broken an unwritten rule by crossing the mound on his trip across the diamond, something that A-Rod claimed to have never heard of.
But that game caused the league to take notice of the young starter. Although he was overshadowed by the performances of Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, Braden put together a solid year in his own right. His 11-14 record belied his 3.50 ERA and 1.157 WHiP, as it appeared that the A’s had another solid young starter to build around.
Unfortunately, his career lasted just three more outings. He injured his shoulder the following year, undergoing surgery to repair a torn capsule. Braden required a second surgery, and never returned to the mound again, saying that his shoulder was “a shredded mess” when he retired in 2014.
For one day, Dallas Braden was perfect for the Oakland A’s. And like in so many other historic moments, he was not close to being at his best.