John Danks will never claim he was among the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field for Mark Buehrle’s perfect game five years ago.
While his teammate made history in a 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Danks remembers his unique experience clearly: he was at Rush Hospital undergoing a series of tests for the circulatory problems he was experiencing in the fingers on his left hand. Though concerned about his health, Danks recalls watching every pitch after he spoke to Buehrle and pitcher Clayton Richard earlier that morning.
Danks likens his experience to ‘Major League 2’ when the club’s fictional manager, Lou Brown, who was hospitalized, celebrated wildly during a critical game.
“I’m all hooked up to the heart stuff and they’ve got all my numbers,” Danks said. “When (Dewayne) Wise made that catch, my heart rate doubled. I was all fired up.”
Buehrle is one of 25 players in major league history to have multiple no-hitters. He also threw a no-hitter on April 18, 2007 against the Texas Rangers.
Buehrle threw 116 pitches (76 for strikes) with Alexei Ramirez fielding Jason Bartlett’s grounder to short for the final out.
Ramirez remembers every aspect of the game, from Hawk Harrelson’s “Alexei, yes” call to how he felt right before the final out.
“I was hoping it wasn’t coming at me,” Ramirez said through a translator. “If anything I was hoping it was a fly ball. Just not a grounder. I hadn’t been feeling well. I had gotten a little injured before that. I was hoping it wasn’t a grounder.”
Ramirez also remembers thinking that Wise, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, had little chance of catching Gabe Kapler’s drive to left-center, one he retrieved with a soaring catch at the fence. The White Sox still have a spot marked on the fence with “The Catch” at the spot where Wise made his heroic play.
“I didn’t think he was going to get to it,” Ramirez said. “The ball was hit hard and I signaled the ball is going there and he got a good jump on it and made a great catch. But no, honestly I didn’t.
“Without a doubt, that’s still the best play I’ve ever seen.”
Danks is pretty certain his nurses won’t forget their experience, either.
“Wouldn’t let any of the nurses leave the room until the ninth inning was over,” Danks said. “I sat and made them watch the ninth inning.”