Neyer: On witnessing a perfect game

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on August 16, 2012:

Now I’ve seen it all.

Fourteen years ago, I saw a no-hitter.

Yesterday, I saw a perfect game.

Well, almost all. As thrilled as I was on both occasions, one thrill yet eludes me. You see, neither of those historic gems were pitched by one of my guys. As thrilling as Félix Hernández’s perfect game was for me, how thrilling must it have been for Mariners fans, who have seen practically every start of his career and lived and died with the franchise for who knows how many years?


But when I lived in Seattle and Randy Johnson pitched for the Mariners, I never turned down a chance to see him pitch. Because I always figured that when I did turn down that chance, he would throw a no-hitter and I wouldn’t know how to forgive myself.

Randy Johnson never did throw that no-hitter. Not for me, anyway. But the rule still applies. If one of your local pitchers routinely takes the mound with no-hitter stuff, you simply must be there when you can. Especially if you’ve never seen a no-hitter.

As I didn’t, until 1999.

Before that, I’d come close just once. In 1987, I was at Royals Stadium when Charlie Leibrandt pitched a one-hitter against the Brewers; that lone hit came in the sixth inning when catcher Bill Schroeder bunted … with his club losing six to nothing. That was mildly annoying when it happened, and infuriating in retrospect.

For some years, Bill Schroeder was my least-favorite player in major-league history.

Twelve years later, I finally saw a no-hitter. Randy Johnson was pitching. He didn’t throw the no-hitter, though. Johnson was pitching for the Diamondbacks, and pitching brilliantly. But it was the other guy, Cardinals rookie José Jiménez, making the no-hit bid.

I was at Bank One Ballpark with a group of like-minded enthusiasts [at the SABR 29 convention], and we started talking about a no-hitter in the fifth or sixth inning.

Read the full article here:

Related link: Other SABR members share their memories of the Jose Jimenez no-hitter during SABR 29

Originally published: August 16, 2012. Last Updated: August 16, 2012.