Writers often talk about earmarks; accomplishments that alone signify worth - greatness in some cases - all on their own. Nothing further is needed than that box score. No scouting reports, advanced statistics, whatever. Just that line. An American League pitcher tossing ine innings with nine (or more) strikeouts and zero walks comes awfully close to that status.
Since 1954, the feat has occurred 253 times. I don't have the time and you don't have the patience for me to track down each of the occasions and determine whether the pitcher was good or not. Instead let's focus on a relatively smaller task and simply look at the last 50 pitchers to do it. Let's go through the list, year-by-year:
Zack Greinke (twice)
Mike Mussina (thrice)
Pedro Martinez (thrice)
Brad Radke (twice)
David Wells (twice)
Roger Clemens (twice)
There are actually 52 occasions thanks to Martinez and Radke pulling the stunt twice in late 1998.
I'm going to name this type of outing "Pulling a Pedro". Mike Mussina isn't too bad either.
This seems to happen a lot less now than it did a decade ago. Since 2006 we've had 10 "Pedro" outings; in 1999 there were 6; in 1998, 14. I went back and checked a few more years too; 1997 had 7; 1996 and 1995 had four. Maybe 1998 was just one of those years.
29 pitchers are listed. Of those, only two (two!) have career FIP over 4.5. 16 have FIP sub-4. In other words: it takes a good pitcher to pull this in the American League, at least nearly 95% of the time.
Yes, Wilson Alvarez was a Devil Ray at the time, and coincidentally he also had a Pedronian performance versus the Blue Jays. He faced off with David Wells (who only lasted five, allowing three homeruns), threw 138 pitches, and needlessly completed a game that was 11-3 after seven innings.
The Jays lineup from that game is amusing:
Shannon Stewart LF
Tony Batista SS
Shawn Green RF
Carlos Delgado 1B
Geronimo Berroa DH
Jacob Brumfield CF
Willis Otanez 3B
Mike Matheny C
Homer Bush 2B
Does anyone remember who Willis Otanez is? I bet if you polled the other eight players in the lineup that day, at least three would have no recollection of him.
The amount of games against the Rays is a bit jarring. I know this dates back to the expansion days, but my goodness:
1998 Brad Radke
1998 Mike Mussina
1998 Brad Radke
2000 Pedro Martinez
2004 Pedro Martinez
5/52 against, 2/52 for, that means All told the Rays contributed to 13.5% of these games.