So, I was working today while Philip Humber and the White Sox took on the Mariners at Safeco field. While working, I felt my phone buzz in my pocket; it was an ESPN Score Center alert telling me that Humber was perfect through six innings in Seattle. “Really…Humber, huh,” went through my mind. I didn’t think much of it because ESPN sends out these types of alerts for pitchers chasing perfection frequently. Twenty minutes later, my phone buzzed again, stating Humber was perfect through seven innings, then through the eight. I received one final alert, stating that Humber completed his quest for perfection, becoming the 21st pitcher in MLB history to do so. As I read that, I could hear every Mets fan throughout the continental United States collectively groan.
Once the Mets decided to take Philip Humber with the third overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft (the first pick after Justin Verlander), the unique road to his perfect game began with surgery. The right-hander appeared in games for New York in 2006 and 2007, only making one start before he was the center piece of the trade that brought Johan Santana to Flushing. In fact, Humber didn’t even get his first win in the Major Leagues until 2010 with the Kansas City Royals.
He was given a chance to make 20+ starts for the first time in his career in 2011 with the White Sox, and performed well (9-9 record, 3.75 ERA). However, once he was traded by Omar Minaya before the 2008 season, Mets fans rarely heard his name. On a day where Humber stated he didn’t feel comfortable until the sixth or the seventh inning, he cruised through the Mariner lineup, not going to a three-ball count until the ninth, and only needing 96 pitches to record all 27 outs. His perfect game included the shortest number of pitches since David Cone’s 1999 masterpiece against the Expos (88 pitches).
Don’t get me wrong; I’m extremely happy for Philip Humber. He’s a stand up guy and deserved to get the chance that he’s getting with the White Sox. He just never struck me as the type of pitcher with no-hit stuff. Plus, this is just another former Met that ended up throwing a no-hitter after he left Flushing. The list has now grown to seven: Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Mike Scott, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Hideo Nomo, and of course, Humber.
The Mets are playing in their 51st season of Major League Baseball, totaling over 8,000 regular season and play off games, without a single no-hitter or perfect game to their credit. Will they ever crack the code and have one of their pitchers join one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball history? Who the heck knows. It sometimes feels like it will never happen, but as we all know, ya gotta believe.