White Sox Hurler, Phillip Humber, Throws Perfect Game
What does 27-up and 27-down equal? At Safeco Field, as well as at every other ballpark in North America, it equals “perfection.”
On April 21, 2012, Chicago White Sox pitcher Phillip Humber threw a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners. The final score was 4-0.
It’s the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history and the first since May 29, 2010 (Roy Halladay). It’s also the third perfect game and 18th no-hitter in White Sox history.
Humber stymied Mariners hitters all day. In the fourth inning, Chicago outfielder Alex Rios made a nice running catch in right field to squelch one of the few times Seattle batters threatened to get on base.
The 27th out was courtesy of a generous call. Pinch-hitter Brendan Ryan successfully checked his swing on ball four but the umpire said he went around (it should have been a walk). Ryan, who argued the call with the home plate umpire and didn’t run, was then thrown out at first base to become Humber’s 27th and final out. Apparently, MLB umpires are wary of making a big call when a perfect game is on the line after Jim Joyce ruined Armando Galarraga’s bid for perfection in 2010.
Despite the fact that their hometown team was going down in defeat, Seattle fans were on their feet cheering for Humber. It’s likely to be the best thing to happen at Safeco Field in 2012.
Oh yeah, we’ve made the necessary calls, and checked with the proper authorities, and throwing a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, the worst hitting club in the majors, does count. No asterisk is needed.
The 29-year-old right hander from the great State of Texas was actually drafted by the New York Mets. He was selected third overall in 2004 amateur draft. The White Sox’s fifth starter has appeared in 55 Major League games, complied an 11-10 record, and a career ERA of 4.06.
The question Chicago White Sox fans now want answered is will Humber’s perfect game be a portends of good things to come in 2012 or the lone highlight of what many are predicting will be a long season?
After years of spending big bucks and enduring the antics of dictator-loving Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox find themselves with a depleted farm system, a bloated payroll, a rookie manager, unproven talent at the leadoff spot, and no Mark Buehrle (he followed Guillen to the Miami Marlins). The current White Sox skipper is former White Sox player Robin Ventura. While he was well-liked and known as a team leader, he has never coached or managed at any level prior to this season
Furthermore, the team’s best player, Paul Konerko, is 36-year-old. Slugger Adam Dunn is coming off an awful year where he hit lefties just a tad bit better than my grandmother. Their best right-hander, former Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy, desperately needs to stay healthy. And their best left-hander, John Danks, was just plain bad in 2011 and struggled with his control.
On paper, see the preceding two paragraphs, the White Sox look like they will be lucky to win 80 games. Yet, when you watch this team play you sense something special. Maybe not first place special, but the club seems to be playing loose and fancy fee, like they’re using the house’s money, i.e. Humber’s perfect game. They won’t win their division, but capturing the second wildcard spot is a possibility—perhaps a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.
While we don’t want you to ignore when the Chicago White Sox battle the Detroit Tigers, you can take it to the bank that no one is going to catch the Motown Nine in the American League Central. In fact, no one in Major League Baseball is going to catch the Tigers in 2012 (can we say World Series champions?).
Instead, the important games for the South Siders are against possible wildcard teams: White Sox against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, White Sox taking on the Boston Red Sox, and White Sox tangling with the Tampa Bay Rays. If they do well in those aforementioned games, then Chicago White Sox playoff tickets will be sold in 2012.
We think the 21st perfect game thrown on the 21st day of April will inspire the White Sox to overachieve, shock the critics, and contend for that second wildcard berth. It’s the start of streak, not an anomaly.
Yes, we’re leaning on our gut more than our intellect, but White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, one of the best in baseball, won’t be unloading talent as the trade deadline approaches but looking for a couple key pieces to bolster his team.
And if we’re wrong, and the White Sox are on the wrong side of .500 come July, the team can at least take comfort in remembering Phillip Humber threw a perfect game, on the road, way back in April.
MLB Perfect Games
1. June 12, 1880 – Lee Richmond (Worcester Ruby Legs) vs. Cleveland Blues, 1-0
2. June 17, 1880 – John Montgomery Ward (Providence Grays) vs. Buffalo Bison, 5-0
3. May 5, 1904 - Cy Young (Boston) vs. Philadelphia Athletics, 3-0
4. Oct. 2, 1908 – Addie Joss (Cleveland) vs. Chicago White Sox, 1-0
5. April 30, 1922 – Charlie Robertson (CHW) @ Detroit Tigers, 2-0
6. Oct. 8, 1956 – Don Larsen (NYY) vs. Brooklyn Dodgers, 2-0 (World Series)
7. June 21, 1964 – Jim Bunning (Philadelphia) @ New York Mets, 6-0
8. Sept. 9, 1965 – Sandy Koufax (LAD) vs. Chicago Cubs, 1-0
9. May 8, 1968 – Catfish Hunter (Oakland) vs. Minnesota Twins, 4-0
10. May 15, 1981 – Len Barker (Cleveland) vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0
11. Sept. 30, 1984 – Mike Witt (California) @ Texas Rangers, 1-0
12. Sept. 16, 1988 - Tom Browning (Cincinnati) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-0
13. July 28, 1991 – Dennis Martinez (Montreal) @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 2,0
14. July 28, 1994 – Kenny Rogers (Texas) vs. California Angels, 4-0
15. May 17, 1998 – David Wells (NYY) vs. Minnesota Twins, 4-0
16. July 18, 1999 – David Cone (NYY) vs. Montreal Expos, 6-0
17. May 18, 2004 – Randy Johnson (Arizona) @ Atlanta Braves, 2-0
18. July 23, 2009 – Mark Buehrle (CHW) vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 5-0
19. May 9, 2010 – Dallas Braden (Oakland) vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 4-0
20. May 29, 2010 – Roy Halladay (Philadelphia) @ Florida Marlins, 1-0
21. April 21, 2012 – Philip Hunter (CHW) @ Seattle Mariners, 4-0
White Sox No-Hitters
1. Sept. 20, 1902 - Nixey Callahan vs. Detroit Tigers, 3-0
2. Sept. 6, 1905 – Frank Smith vs. Detroit Tigers, 15-0
3. Sept. 20, 1908 – Frank Smith vs. Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0
4. Aug. 27, 1911 – Ed Walsh vs. Boston Red Sox, 5-0
5. May 31, 1914 – Joe Benz vs. Cleveland Indians, 6-1
6. April 14, 1917 - Eddie Cicotte @ St. Louis Browns, 11-0
7. April 30, 1922 – Charlie Robertson @ Detroit Tigers, 2-0*
8. Aug. 21, 1926 – Ted Lyons @ Boston Red Sox, 6-0
9. Aug. 31, 1935 – Vern Kennedy vs. Cleveland Indians, 5-0
10. June 1, 1937 – Bill Dietrich vs. St. Louis Browns, 8-0
11. Aug. 20, 1957 – Bob Keegan vs. Washington Senators, 6-0
12. Sept. 10, 1967 – Joel Horlen vs. Detroit Tigers, 6-0
13. July 28, 1976 – Blue Moon Odom & Francisco Barrios @ Oakland Athletics, 2-1
14. Sept. 19, 1986 – Joe Cowley @ California Angels, 7-1
15. Aug. 11, 1991 – Wilson Alvarez @ Baltimore Orioles, 7-0
16. Aug. 18, 2007 – Mark Buehrle vs. Texas Rangers, 6-0
17. July 23, 2009 – Mark Buehrle vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 5-0*
18. April 21, 2012 – Philip Humber @ Seattle Mariners, 4-0*
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