The first known use in print of the term perfect game occurred in 1908. I. E. Sanborn's report for the Chicago Tribune about Addie Joss's performance against the White Sox calls it "an absolutely perfect game, without run, without hit, and without letting an opponent reach first base by hook or crook, on hit, walk, or error, in nine innings". Several sources have claimed (erroneously) that the first recorded usage of the term "perfect game" was by Ernest J. Lanigan in his Baseball Cyclopedia, made in reference to Charlie Robertson's 1922 perfect game. The Chicago Tribune came close to the term in describing Richmond's game in 1880: "Richmond was most effectively supported, every position on the home nine being played to perfection." Similarly, in writing up John Montgomery Ward's 1880 perfect game, the New York Clipper described the "perfect play" of Providence's defense.
As of 2014, the current Major League Baseball definition of a perfect game is largely a side effect of the decision made by the major leagues' Committee for Statistical Accuracy on September 4, 1991, to redefine a no-hitter as a game in which the pitcher or pitchers on one team throw a complete game of nine innings or more without surrendering a hit. That decision removed a number of games that had long appeared in the record books: those lasting fewer than nine innings, and those in which a team went hitless in regulation but then got a hit in extra innings. The definition of perfect game was made to parallel this new definition of the no-hitter, in effect substituting "baserunner" for "hit". As a result of the 1991 redefinition, for instance, Harvey Haddix receives credit for neither a perfect game nor a no-hitter for his performance on May 26, 1959, when he threw 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves before allowing a baserunner in the 13th.
There has been one perfect game in the World Series, thrown by Don Larsen for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 8, 1956. By coincidence, the second Yankee pitcher to throw a perfect game, David Wells in 1998, graduated from the same high school as Larsen - Point Loma High School in San Diego, California. In a further coincidence, Larsen was in attendance when the third Yankee pitcher to throw a perfect game, David Cone in 1999, performed the feat on the same day that Larsen and Yogi Berra (the catcher in the 1956 perfect game) were invited to do the ceremonial first pitch.
Ron Hassey is the only catcher in MLB history to have caught more than one perfect game (his first was with pitcher Len Barker in 1981 and his second was with pitcher Dennis Martínez in 1991).
The most recent perfect game pitched in Major League Baseball was thrown by Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 15, 2012). He struck out the side twice and struck out twelve total batters in the 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay. Since the beginning of the 2009 MLB season, it was the third time that the Tampa Bay Rays were on the losing end of a perfect game.
The only perfect game thrown in a Little League World Series championship was by Angel Macias of the Monterrey, Mexico, team in 1957.