Has any Chicago Cubs pitcher ever thrown a perfect game?

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Looking back at the lengthy history of the Chicago Cubs and some of the all-time greats who’ve toed the rubber over the years, you’d probably think that at least once, perfection was achieved.

But you’d be wrong.

After I watched Dave Roberts pull 34-year-old Clayton Kershaw from his start Wednesday after seven perfect innings and just 80 pitches, I couldn’t help but look back at some of the most dominant starts in Cubs history.

Not one time has a Cubs pitcher ever gone 27 up and 27 down – although several guys have come close, evidenced by the 16 single-pitcher no-hitters in the record books – and the one and only combined no-no that came just last year when Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel dominated the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

Prior to that, it was Alec Mills tossing a no-hitter in an empty Miller Park up in Milwaukee in one of the unlikeliest no-hitters you’ll ever see. But when we get back to 2015 and 2016, when former NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta tossed a pair of no-nos, that was a guy you really felt like had ‘perfect game’ stuff in the tank.

His first bid at perfection – a no-hitter against the Dodgers – was out of the question early, thanks to a Starlin Castro error in just the third inning. A sixth-inning walk marked the only other Los Angeles runner to reach against the right-hander, who turned in a second-half for the ages that season to lead a young, surging Cubs team deep into October.

Arrieta’s second no-hit effort was a bloodbath in Cincinnati, a 16-0 Cubs victory in which Chicago set the Modern Era record for most runs scored in a no-hitter. He wasn’t even at his best, which is the ridiculous part, but he settled in late and really put it on cruise control en route to yet another unforgettable outing.

Prior to that pair of historic showings, you have to go all the way back to 2008 – which is somehow nearly 15 years ago already – and re-visit Carlos Zambrano’s quirky no-hitter. Thanks to a hurricane, the Cubs played the Houston Astros in Milwaukee, and the fiery right-hander dazzled en route to the first Chicago no-hitter since Milt Pappas in 1972.

Who will be the first Cubs pitcher to throw a perfect game? It’s hard to say.

Given Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins both never threw perfect games, it’s hard to look at anybody in the 2022 Cubs rotation having a legitimate shot at perfection. After all, you have to have some degree of swing-and-miss stuff and that’s just not how this staff is assembled.

Throw in the fact that it’s going to be a bit before starters are even properly stretched out and it makes a Cubs pitcher throwing a perfect game even less likely this year. Even Kerry Wood’s incredible 20-strikeout performance back in 1998 didn’t get the job done – despite being widely regarded as one of the best outings in baseball history.

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Maybe someday a Cubs hurler will get across the finish line. But, for now, the wait continues. Not since Felix Hernandez in 2012 have we seen a pitcher achieve perfection. I’d say we’re about due for another, no?