White Sox right-hander Philip Humber took the mound Saturday afternoon at Seattle’s Safeco Field as the owner of an uninspiring 4.06 career ERA.
When nine innings were up, the 29-year-old starter fell to the grass a few feet in front of home plate as a member of major league history.
Humber tossed nine perfect framess against the Mariners, striking out nine batters, walking none, and yielding only a handful of hard-hit balls (all of which were converted into outs). He needed just 96 pitches, and 67 of those deliveries went for strikes.
It was the first perfect game of Humber’s career, the third in White Sox history, and the 21st in MLB.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Humber told the FOX broadcast in a postgame interview, shortly before being doused with a bucket of ice water by his teammates. He dedicated the achievement to his wife.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.