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Article:The Only Way Alex Rodriguez Can Top Dallas Braden

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by Harold Friend

When Alex Rodriguez "walked on Dallas Braden's pitching mound," Mr. Braden took umbrage because A-Rod broke an unwritten rule. The mound belongs to the pitcher.

Alex responded by referring to Dallas' handful of wins.

A few days ago, Alex claimed he was not making any more comments because he didn't want to add any more time to the left-handed pitcher's 15-minutes of fame.

Alex Rodriguez will probably finish his career with more home runs than Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, but there is only way that A-Rod can top what Dallas Braden achieved on May 9, 2009.

Nineteen pitchers have pitched perfect games. Dallas Braden is one of them. There are few things in baseball that are more difficult to achieve, and they are not always achieved by the greatest.

Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, and Catfish Hunter have tossed perfect games, but so have Don Larsen, Kenny Rogers, and Mike Witt.

After his perfect game, which was only his 18th career win, Braden spoke.

"Pretty cool," Braden told reporters in Oakland. "I don't know what to think about it just yet. There's definitely a select group. I'd like to have a career more than today."

Pitching a perfect game and striking out at least 20 batters are probably the most difficult single-game pitching achievements.

Alex Rodriguez will never pitch a perfect game, nor will he ever strike out at least 20 batters in a game. However, there are two accomplishments that are more rare than even a perfect game that would allow Alex to get to Braden's level.

Only 15 players have made an unassisted triple play. Of course, that doesn't compare to pitching a perfect game, since it is a freak play, but there is a play on offense that might be greater than a perfect game.

Only 15 batters have hit four home runs in a game, which may be more difficult for a hitter than pitching a perfect game is for a pitcher. As with perfect games, not all players who hit four home runs in a game were great hitters.

Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, and Mike Schmidt have done it, but so too have Mike Cameron, Mark Whiten, and Shawn Green.

A-Rod is one of the great players in the game's history, but he admitted that he used steroids for a three-year period beginning in 2001. Using performance-enhancing drugs is not good.

No one knows if Dallas Braden will become an effective major league pitcher. There is little chance that his ranking among pitchers will come close to A-Rod's ranking among batters, but when discussing single-game achievements, Alex isn't even close.


Dallas Braden Perfect Game

Baseball Almanac

A-Rod Admits Steroid Use at ESPN

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