Yesterday, mentioned that I thought a great pitching performance in baseball was as exciting as lots of runs. And that a no-hitter is that to which all pitchers aspire. But, a no-hitter is trumped by a perfect game: no batters reaching first base, for any reason (hit, error, walk, hit batsman, etc).
All that, to tell you what I think is the perfect baseball story:
The wife and I have season tickets to the local minor league team, the Columbus Catfish of the South Atlantic League. That's Class A baseball. Lots of young players, most in their first two or three years of pro ball.
Although I've been a Braves fan for years, I cheer for the Catfish, who are a Dodgers affiliate. If the Braves had an affiliate here, I'd cheer for them. Heck, if the Yankees had the affiliate, I'd still cheer for them. But, the Dodgers have the affiliation with the local team. And there are some pluses to that.
One is that members of the Dodgers organization occasionally come to town. And the local team sits them in good seats. Well, the seats the wife and I have are also good seats.
Last May, Tommy Lasorda made the rounds and stopped in Columbus. When he went to the games, he sat behind us. Actually, one row behind and one seat the the left of the wife, who sits to my left.
With him sitting there, we were able to hear much of the conversation he had with others. Because of a rainout the first night, a double-header was scheduled the next afternoon, May 20, 2004. During the first game of the double-header, we heard Tommy Lasorda tell one story of a player on the Catfish roster at the time.
Tommy Lasorda mentioned that he was traveling through an airport with the Dodgers one time, when a young kid came up to him and said "Mr. Lasorda, I'm going to play ball for you one day." When the young man was asked his hame, he told him "Chuck Tiffany."
He said he'd be looking for him. And, he says he followed the kid's career. And when Chuck was eligible for the draft, he talked the Dodgers into drafting him. And he was looking forward to actually watching him pitch as a member of the Dodgers organization (remember, the Catfish are a Dodger's Class A affiliate).
Chuck Tiffany started game two of the double-header. And, he pitched a no-hitter. And not just a no-hitter. Not the first member of the opposing team reached base.
In front of his hero, in front of Tommy Lasorda, the man Chuck told he wanted to play for, the man who had the Dodgers draft him, Chuck Tiffany pitched a perfect game.