Mariners Insider

Watching Seattle Mariners dragged into history

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on April 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm with 15 Comments »
April 21, 2012 5:33 pm

I’ve been lucky in my career to have covered six no-hitters and, after Philip Humber’s effort for the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field today, two of those were perfect games.

The Seattle Mariners lost it, 4-0, and by the ninth inning a crowd of 22,472  was standing, cheering every Humber pitch. They knew the rarity of what they were seeing – there had been only 20 perfect games ever thrown in the majors.

This afternoon, they got to see one.

The first perfect game I saw was on the final day of the 1984 season, with California Angels right-hander Mike Witt beating the Texas Rangers, 1-0. The Rangers came no closer to a hit that day than the Mariners did on this one.

Like Humber, Mike Witt wasn’t overpowering. He was a strike thrower with good command and, on that day in ’84, everything he threw was not only a strike, but a strike where he wanted it.

Like all of us at Safeco Field, catcher John Jaso spent the first eight innings watching. In the ninth, he pinch-hit for Miguel Olivo.

“If you respect the game, you try to break it up,” Jaso said. “But when it’s over, you tip your cap to him. That’s the way baseball should be played.”

From the first inning on, the Mariners knew they had a problem.

“He kept throwing strikes,” Chone Figgins said. “He got ahead in the count and stayed ahead, and we never got him in many hitting counts. It was hard to watch, hard to be part of.”

In the ninth inning, Humber faced Michael Saunders, Jaso and Brendan Ryan. He fell behind Saunders, 3-0, then came back to strike him out on a 3-2 slider.

“I knew what was on the line, and if I had to do it again I’d do the same thing,” Saunders said. “I wasn’t trying to walk my way on base, I wanted to hit.”

Jaso flied out, and Ryan worked the count to 3-2.

On his last pitch, Humber threw what would have been ball four, low and away. Ryan started to swing, tried to check it and thought he had.

Plate umpire Brian Runge thought he swung and rang him up for the 27th out of a perfect day for Humber.

 “By the end, even our fans wanted to see him get it,” Ryan said. “They’re great baseball fans, they wanted to see history. Hats off to Humber, he did it.”

It was, like each of the six no-hitters I’ve covered, a special, unexpected few hours of mastery. In the two perfect games I’ve covered, they were the highlight of each pitchers career – and beautiful to watch.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. That was brutal. I’m not sure this team can score more runs than last year.

  2. bbnate420 says:

    Chalk up another one for the IMPROVED Mariner offense! AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!

  3. SharkHawk says:

    Jack Z. couldn’t build a rotisserie team… or cook a rotisserie chicken for that matter. I’ve completely lost all faith in the man that I was so high on just a couple of seasons ago. He pulled off one good trade (getting rid of Putz before his arm exploded). Since then… we’ve sucked. BAD. He’s had time to get “his own guys” on the field.

    We’ve seen entire countries built from the ground up into functioning societies faster than he’s built an offense. He is to offense what Tim Ruskell was to building an offensive line. He just isn’t capable of doing it. He’s done what he can, but it’s time to take the next step. Heck, turn the team back over to Gillick for a year and see what happens. Chuck and Howie go. Pat steps in and runs the show. He picks the guy to make day to day decisions and we start over. Don’t wait until September to make these decisions. DO IT NOW!

  4. Re the perfect game, I posted the following on a national board:

    There should be an * in the record books: he did it against the Mariners, who can only hit against Women’s softball teams & Oakland.

  5. SharkHawk says:

    Clemens strikes out 20! I’ll never forget that headline, or the sick feeling I got as I picked up the paper and read the article knowing full well that the team he did it against would be our Seattle Mariners. That really ruined my vacation to see my grandparents. I get to hear my grandpa laughing at me for how bad my Mariners stink.

  6. throw strikes against Seattle and any pitcher has a 80% chance to make history. this team is so poorly managed (from ownership on down) it’s pathetic. at least the nfl draft is coming up.

    go hawks!

  7. Figgins is down to .215 & today’s lineup had 1 Mariner over .275 (Liddi)

  8. Once again, the NFL offseason is more exciting than the Mariners. What a joke

  9. mojjonation says:

    Once again the Mariners let e no namer look like a future hall of famer. 7 wins (with 2 coming against teams not named Oakland), 10 losses (most by ugly numbers). Here come da draft.

  10. One of 21 pitchers to pitch a perfect game…Yes, its an accomplishment…but then again…it was against the Mariners who have NO OFFENSE. I must admit, I watched the entire game and did see the end to a perfect game. I thought the check swing was VERY questionable. But the guy did pitch a great game!

    Speaking of our Mariners??? Did we do ANYTHING in upgrading this year? So far, I have to think that staying out of the cellar of the AL West will be an HUGE accomplishment.

  11. Wow. You’d think Sauron moved into the neighborhood or something. I didn’t like it either, but geez, guys, take a breath.

  12. wabubba67 says:

    Two more games have been played (again) since another post. How about a game thread? This coverage is pathetic.

  13. “but geez, guys, take a breath.”

    Just saying…it’s the NFL offseason and have you seen the threads they have going at seahawks insider? It would make you think there is no baseball in seattle with how little goes on around here and how the hawks section is always live and blowing up. Goes to show that no one cares about this pathetic team…that is, until this FO get their sh*t together. It’s harsh, yes, but so true

  14. I agree with Wabubba, for whatever reason Larry doesn’t seem to have time to update the blog on a regular basis. I would suggest re-assigning Ryan Divish; as Wabubba likely remembers (being the only regular other than myself left from 2 years ago), this blog used to be quite active. For that I blame the Trib, not the team.

  15. Ups and downs. I don’t care for the NFL; too many devastating injuries. I know it’s the favorite sport in the US as of the moment. But I’ve been around for a while, and one baseball game–or four, wins or losses all–don’t make a season.

    So far this year the M’s haven’t picked the best times for their wins; in that I’ll concur. That’s OK. The season has a long way to go. If you have no patience, baseball isn’t the game for you anyway, no matter what city you’re living in. I hope the Seahawks do great, and I hope the NBA fans in Seattle get a team soon. But I won’t get stirred up about it. I’m a baseball fan–so sue me.

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