- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 26, 2009

Black cats and White Sox

Baseball is built on numbers. And matchups. And tradition. And superstition.

That last one? Yeah, players not stepping on the chalk lines, pitchers not talking the day they start, everyone trying to do the same thing the same way every time — and a whole lot not to say and do during a no-hitter.

Fuggedaboutit. Kiss it goodbye. It is, in a word, ridiculous — Mark Buehrle and Hawk Harrelson showed that Thursday when the pitcher tossed a perfect game and Chicago’s play-by-play man wasn’t afraid to talk about it.

Buehrle, whose perfect game is the second no-hitter of his career, said after the game that he wasn’t any different in the dugout between innings. In other words, he didn’t resort to being a hermit because he was close to recording the 18th perfect game in major league history.

And Harrelson delivered this address after Buehrle set down the Tampa Bay Rays 1-2-3 in the eighth: “Call your sons, call your daughters, call your friends, call your neighbors. Mark Buehrle has a perfect game going to the ninth.”

It took a home run-robbing catch by DeWayne Wise, but it happened — no matter the black cats and broken mirrors Harrelson and Buehrle unleashed upon Chicago.

But this is no new theory. Hall of Fame Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who called Tom Browning’s perfect game in 1988, said he doesn’t believe in a crazy superstition that can keep fans in the dark.

“I don’t avoid it,” Brennaman said. “I certainly can’t be the difference between a guy pitching one and not pitching one because I talked about it.”

So sit back, relax and let history unfold. It doesn’t happen that often.


Everyone wants to believe Buehrle’s perfect game was the greatest in history, but here’s a list that looks back further than one week:

1. Don Larsen, 1956 World Series — The Yankees pitcher did it in the World Series against the Dodgers. Game over.

2. David Cone, 1999 — Cone did it at Yankee Stadium on Yogi Berra Day with Larsen in attendance. Got goose bumps yet?

3. Randy Johnson, 2004 — With Arizona, Johnson struck out the 27th batter, Atlanta’s Eddie Perez, with a 98 mph fastball.

4. Jim Bunning, 1964 — The Phillies righty needed only 90 pitches to set down the Mets in order.

5. Tom Browning, 1988 — The Reds pitcher kept his composure to earn a perfect game in a 1-0 win.


“Twenty-seven up, 27 down, baseball immortality.” — Yankees broadcaster John Sterling after David Wells’ perfect game in 1998

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