Portrait of Perfection: Mike Witt

PERFECT!!! - Robert Meggers

Mike Witt remains the only Angels pitcher to toss a Perfect Game...

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Did you know that Angels pitcher MIKE WITT pitched a perfect game for Halos on the final day of the 1984 season? He did it on the road against the Texas Rangers, striking out ten batters in Arlington on a Sunday afternoon.

Bob Boone caught the game behind the plate. Witt observed about the game that the only pitched he shook off came in the first inning and the batter hit a hard liner a foot shy of the foul pole and from then on he just followed Boonie's orders.

Witt is the only player in baseball history to pitch a perfect game and be part of a combined no-hitter. Interestingly enough, this one game right at the beginning of a season. In only the third game of the year Witt combined with Mark Langston for a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners in front of the hometown faithful in Anaheim.

Langston was just not stretched out enough to go beyond seven full innings despite the magical no-no being only six outs away. The game had been tied 0-0 but in the bottom of the seventh, M's reliever Gary Eaves walked in a run to make the game 1-0. Managher Doug Rader made a wise decision to bring in a veteran with nerves of steel to handle six very important outs. After facing the minimum in the top of the eighth he retired the first two batters in the ninth inning when up stepped Ken Griffey Junior.

Gulp!

With a 2-2 count, Mike Witt struck him out swinging.

A few weeks later the Angels traded Witt to the Yankees for slugger Dave Winfield, ending one of the great Angels pitching tenures. Next September will be thirty years since Witt's perfecto and few have come close. Last season, Ervin Santana had a perfect game going in Anaheim against the Diamondbacks when Justin Upton hit a single with two in the seventh inning. Voodoo walked a batter in the ninth inning before completing the shutout but there was that adrenaline rush, nervousness and hanging on every pitch that comes with following the pursuit of an unimaginably impossible baseball feat.

Perfection is unattainable in so many of our undertakings that it is a pleasant irony that amidst the difficult and unpredictable game of baseball, every game begins with the possibility of being a perfect game.

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