Félix Hernández hasn't pitched in almost three years – his last game with the Mariners was on September 26, 2019 – but he is still remembered as the last pitcher to pitch a Perfect Game in the Major Leagues.
Exactly ten years have passed since that masterful pitching performance by the right-handed pitcher born in Valencia, Carabobo state, on April 8, 1986.
It was the afternoon of Wednesday, August 15, 2012, in a meeting in which the Navy team received the Tampa Rays at Safeco Field in Seattle, before 21 spectators.
In the history of the major leagues, there have been only 23 Perfect Games for 142 years. The first two came in the National League, in a span of just five days, during the 1880 season.
On June 12, Worcester's Lee Richmond handcuffed Cleveland, while on June 17, Providence's John Ward was unstoppable from the mound against Buffalo.
In the so-called Modern Era of MLB, that is, from 1900, the other 21 perfect Games have been recorded, including 17 in the last sixty years, counting, of course, the one that made Félix Hernández vibrate on a date like Today's.
Hernández, who in the 2010 campaign became the second Venezuelan pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in the American League, after Johan Santana won it twice with the Twins (2004 and 2006), threw 113 pitches (77 strikeouts). ) on the day of his memorable performance against Tampa, dominating a dozen foes by the strikeout route.
His teammates supported him with a run that came in the third inning with a single by Brendan Ryan, who after two outs swindled second, advanced to third on a wild pitch from Jeremy Hellickson, and got rubberized thanks to an RBI single by Jesús Montero, a countryman from Carabobo. de Hernández, who that day lined up as designated hitter
Hernandez's 113th pitch was a changeup that landed on catcher's mascot John Jaso. Energetically, the home plate umpire, Rob Drake, decreed it as the third strike, the shipment that completed the feat of pitch perfection, while Hernández raised his arms and all his teammates came to celebrate the peculiar feat.
The closest Hernandez came to a similar feat was on April 11, 2007, at Boston's Fenway Park, when he held off the Red Sox for seven innings until JD Drew singled him in the eighth. He had previously given up a couple of walks.
“As the game progressed, I thought about the Perfect Game and it happened. There are no words to explain what it feels like,” said Hernandez, who made his 230th start of 418 that day in 419 games with the Mariners.