Yesterday in Seattle, White Sox RHP Philip Humber pitched the 21st perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball, a 4-0 shutout over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Humber joins Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, A.J. Burnett and Hideo Nomo as pitchers who have been in the Mets organization but threw either a no-hitter or a perfect game for another organization.
For my thoughts on Humber’s perfect game and it’s relationship with Mets history,
Humber appeared in five games for the Mets between 2006-2007, and allowed six runs in nine innings over that span. His only start for the Mets came on September 26, 2007 against the Nationals in which he allowed six earned runs in four innings of a 9-6 loss at Shea Stadium.
Humber was traded along with Deolis Guerra and Carlos Gomez to the Twins in exchange for Johan Santana in February, 2008.
First off, this is a tremendous accomplishment and am very happy for Humber, regardless of his connection to the Mets. Humber hit baseball’s version of the lottery, and it’s something he can cherish forever. Naturally, while watching his outing, I couldn’t help but think about that connection, and Humber wearing number 41 for the White Sox (which Seaver also wore when he was with the White Sox in 1985) didn’t help to shed any reminder of that, either. But while he undoubtedly once wore a Mets uniform and has now achieved something so rare and so unique, I’m not particularly frustrated yet another former Met has achieved something so elusive to the Mets organization.
I’m not old enough to reflect on guys like Seaver and Nolan Ryan throwing no-hitters for clubs other than the Mets. But I am old enough to have seen both Dwight Gooden and David Cone play for them, and I’m still frustrated both of them threw no-hitters for another team, especially with that team being the Yankees. But both Doc and Cone had unique connections with me as a fan in that they are part of the most successful era in franchise history and were major contributors towards winning with their own degrees of dominance in the late 1980′s.
With Humber, that is simply not the case. I was talking to a close friend last night, who was born in 1962 and has been a Mets fan for as long as she can remember, and she said to me “ok, the Mets traded [Humber] over four years ago, but I draw no personal connection between him & the team. To me, it was a great baseball moment and appreciate that as a fan of the sport. It just so happens he was with the Mets at one point. Why should this bother me as a Mets fan?” I thought that through and I think that’s the reason I am not bothered by this no-hitter in the context of the Mets. Rather, it served only as a reminder the Mets have played 7,981 without a no-hitter or a perfect game, but I think about that everyday, anyway. Humber was simply one of the minor league pieces, who at this point is a journeyman pitcher, the Mets traded for a superstar pitcher in an attempt to get better.
The amazing thing is, before every game, I wonder if today is going to be the day. I look at the pitcher’s stuff immediately, no matter who it is, and try and figure out if he’s got what it takes. Sometimes I believe virtually immediately a pitcher has the stuff which is dominating enough to do it. Sometimes I look up and, all of a sudden, it’s the fifth inning and no hits have been allowed, at which point the thoughts commence. There were a couple of instances I thought David Cone would do it only before having his no-hitters get disrupted late. There was one time I thought Tom Glavine might do it as well. I also thought that if Robin Ventura could have jumped one extra inch in Game 4 of the 2000 NLDS, Bobby Jones would have thrown a no-hitter then. Jon Niese made a bid for a no-hitter in the third game of this season before having it disrupted in the seventh inning.
The list goes on and on with so many “almosts.” But as each day goes without that no-hitter, the Mets have to be getting closer to the day they do get a no-hitter, right?