John Cairney talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com about her book, Immaculate: A History of Perfect Innings in Baseball.
“I think it’s really human interest stories of the pitchers that make it compelling to all of us.” ~John Cairney
A perfect, or “immaculate,” inning in baseball is when a pitcher strikes out all three consecutive batters, who are retired in nine strikes during that same inning, and this is a feat that has taken place only seventy-seven times since the 1880s, when major league baseball was established. His interest in immaculate innings began when, on July 21, 2013, he heard on the radio that Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Steve Delabar had pitched an immaculate inning the previous night. He then realized that there wasn’t much on immaculate innings. He was drawn to Steve Delabar’s story and wondered what other human stories lay behind other immaculate innings, and from there he went into researching for the book and wrote about it.
During the course of his research, John did a statistical analysis of immaculate innings and has realized that the main players involved in an immaculate inning are the pitcher, the batter and the back catcher. 14 immaculate innings were recorded from 1889 to 1963, a period of seventy-four years, while from 2011 to the present, 2015 season 14 immaculate innings were recorded, and John remarked that, after statistically looking into such factors as increased pitching specialization, this increase in immaculate innings can be attributed to that more games than ever are being played nowadays compared to before, and the greater attention given to the biomechanics, training and nutrition of modern-day athletes. That said, John notes that perfect innings “elude the numbers,” i.e., are unpredictable, which is what makes them a topic of interest.
John likes spending time with his family and doesn’t particularly like doing accounting work. In regard to future books, he hopes to write about one topic of interest being the rituals associated with baseball.
John Cairney’s book, Immaculate: A History of Perfect Innings in Baseball, can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Mosaic Press.
Purchase on Amazon: Immaculate: A History of Perfect Innings in Baseball