What is a Baseball Immaculate Inning?

A baseball immaculate inning occurs when a pitcher strikes out all three batters in an inning with the minimum number of pitches possible. It is one of the rarest and most impressive feats in baseball and is highly coveted by pitchers. In this article, we will explore what an immaculate inning is, the history of the feat, the rarity of immaculate innings, and some of the pitchers who have achieved the feat.

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History of the Immaculate Inning

The first recorded immaculate inning occurred in 1884, when Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn of the Providence Grays struck out three consecutive batters on nine pitches. Since then, there have been over 200 immaculate innings in Major League Baseball history, and the feat has been achieved by some of the greatest pitchers in the game.

Rarity of the Immaculate Inning

While it is certainly an impressive feat, the immaculate inning is also exceedingly rare. In the history of Major League Baseball, there have been over 200,000 games played and yet there have only been over 200 immaculate innings. This means that the odds of a pitcher striking out all three batters in an inning on nine pitches is only 0.1%.

Pitchers Who Have Achieved the Feat

Many of the greatest pitchers in baseball history have achieved the feat of an immaculate inning. Nolan Ryan holds the record for the most immaculate innings with 12. Other pitchers who have achieved the feat include Sandy Koufax with 9, Pedro Martinez with 8, Randy Johnson with 7, and Bob Feller with 4.

Impact on the Game

The immaculate inning is a testament to the skill of a pitcher and the perfect execution of their craft. It is also a reminder that even in a game where hitting is seemingly dominant, pitching can still reign supreme.

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Notable Immaculate Innings

There have been many memorable immaculate innings over the years. Perhaps the most famous is Nolan Ryan’s fifth immaculate inning on August 20, 1975. Other notable immaculate innings include Sandy Koufax’s first on August 13, 1959, Pedro Martinez’s first on October 1, 1995, and Randy Johnson’s first on April 11, 2004.

Reaction to Immaculate Innings

Immaculate innings are always met with great excitement from fans and players alike. Fans often cheer wildly and players on the field often give the pitcher a standing ovation. It is a testament to the skill of the pitcher and the respect that they have earned from their peers.

Repercussions of the Immaculate Inning

The feat of an immaculate inning does not only bring immediate excitement and joy, but it also has long-term repercussions. For one, it can often be a turning point for a pitcher in their career. It can also be a sign of great things to come and can be a spark for a team’s success.

Rewards for an Immaculate Inning

In recent years, several organizations have begun offering rewards for pitchers who achieve an immaculate inning. The most well-known is the Nolan Ryan Perfect Game Award, which is given to any pitcher who achieves an immaculate inning in a game in which they also throw a perfect game.


The immaculate inning is one of the rarest and most impressive feats in baseball and is highly coveted by pitchers. It is a testament to skill and perfect execution and is always met with great excitement. While rare, there have been many notable immaculate innings over the years and it is a feat that will continue to be celebrated and rewarded in the game of baseball.