White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle made history on the South Side of Chicago Thursday afternoon, tossing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s the first perfect game in the majors since Randy Johnson back on May 18, 2004, and the 18th in Major League Baseball history. It’s also the second no-hitter thrown by Buehrle in his career. He no-hit the Texas Rangers back on April 18, 2007.
Buehrle, who needed only 116 pitches to complete the feat, might want to save the most expensive gift for Dewayne Wise. Coming in as a defensive replacement in center field in the ninth inning, Wise reached over the fence to rob Gabe Kapler of what would have been a sure home run. He bobbled the ball as he absorbed the collision with the wall on the way down from his leap, but managed to hang on.
“I was hoping it was staying in there, give him enough room to catch it. I know the guys were doing everything they could to save the no-hitter, the perfect game, whatever it might be,” Buehrle said.
Wise called it one of the best plays he had ever made.
“I was with the Braves in ’04 and I was there when Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks pitched a perfect game. So I’ve been on both sides of it,” he said. “It was probably the best catch I’ve ever made because of the circumstances.
“It was kind of crazy, man, because when I jumped, the ball hit my glove at the same time I was hitting the wall. So I didn’t realize I had caught it until I fell down and the ball was coming out of my glove, so I reached out and grabbed it.”
Buehrle received a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama moments after completing the perfecto. Obama, of course, is a noted White Sox and baseball fan.
“I’m still in shock. Thank you, sir,” Buehrle told Obama over the phone.
The perfect game helped the White Sox move into a de facto tie with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the AL Central (Chicago is behind Detroit by 1/100th of a percentage point), with the two teams set to open a four-game series on Friday in Detroit.
Buehrle is the 26th pitcher in major league history to record multiple no-hitters during his career, and just the second to accomplish the feat multiple times in a White Sox uniform. He is also only the sixth to throw a no-hitter and a perfect game. Only one other White Sox pitcher — Charles Robertson in 1922 — has pitched a perfect game.