Complete games occur when the starting pitcher pitches the whole game without a relief pitcher coming into the game. A complete game in the modern game is a sign of a pitcher with both endurance and efficiency.
More about Team Complete Games
This is a statistic that has been on the decline for many years, as it is not uncommon for some teams to go an entire season without a single team complete game. Teams that have a higher number of complete games are likely to have a small number of pitchers (likely no more than 2 or 3) accumulating all of a team’s complete games, and thus can be more useful as an individual statistic than a team statistic. In addition, the statistic can be slightly misleading in some instances, such as when inclement weather shortens a game to fewer than nine innings. In such instances, a pitcher (and thus the team) would be awarded a complete game if the starting pitcher was the only pitcher needed, even if the game only lasted five innings.
Historically, complete games occured far more frequently, for example in 1904 nearly 90% of games were complete games. This number has steadily declined and now only about 3% of games end as complete games, mainly, due to new pitching philosophies and a focus on pitch counts to prevent injuries and increase the longevity of pitchers.