King Felix: Perfect
Felix Hernandez celebrates after throwing the first perfect game in Mariners history: August 15, 2012
In April, after Phil Humber pitched a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, I posted the following chart of teams in the modern era who have thrown perfect games and those who have been perfected against. I‘ve since updated it for Matt Cain’s perfecto against Houston in June.
Today I updated it again. See if you can spot the addition:
|Perfect Game Teams||Wins||Losses|
|New York Yankees||3||0|
|Chicago White Sox||3||1|
|Boston Red Sox||1||0|
|San Francisco Giants||1||0|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1||3|
|New York Mets||0||1|
|Toronto Blue Jays||0||1|
|Tampa Bay Rays||0||3|
I was at work when my friend Ben shot me a text message about Felix Hernandez's no-no through 7 2/3. I checked on ESPN.com and realized rather quickly, no, not a no-no. A perfect game. Through 8. So I grabbed my sunglasses and wallet and walked/ran the two blocks down to Buckley‘s, the sport bars that doubled as McGinty’s, Martin Crane's favorite bar on “Frasier.” I wasn't the only guy to file in, either. There was a good dozen new folks there for the top of the ninth. I ordered a beer and before I could finish it, Felix had struck out the first batter, induced the second to ground out to short, and then, improbably, scrotum-tighteningly, went 2-0 on the Rays' No. 9 hitter. I was worried for a second. Then he nailed the guy with a slider (on 2-0!), and never threw another ball, and threw two more strikes, and it was over and the bar erupted. High fives all around.
Expect articles on what it all means. As many perfect games have now been thrown this season as were thrown in the nearly three-quarters of a century between 1882 and 1955. We‘ve now had seven perfect games in the 21st century. The 20th century didn’t see its seventh perfect game until Catfish Hunter did it against my Twins in May 1968. It's also the fifth perfect game this decade, which is more perfect games than have been thrown in any decade in baseball history. And we‘re not even three full years into it.
It’s the second perfect game this season at Safeco Field, which also saw a no-hitter in June. Its rep as a pitchers park is growing.
Bummer to be a Rays fan, though. 0-3 in perfect games? All of which happened in the last four years when the team was good.
For what it's worth, Felix's is the first perfect game pitched in August. His 12 Ks are the third-most in any perfect game, behind only Sandy Koufax (14) and Randy Johnson (13).
Most importantly, his is the first perfect game ever thrown by a Seattle Mariner. It's been a pretty shitty year, or 10 years, for the M's and their fans, but the team's rebuilding the right way finally; and this sunny Seattle afternoon at Safeco Field, August 15, 2012, was one helluva bright spot.