Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber is the newest member of “The Perfect Club.” Humber secured his place in baseball history by retiring all 27 Seattle Mariners that stepped into the batter’s box on Saturday afternoon.
You may remember Humber as the pitcher who led Rice University to the College World Series title back in 2003. Humber tossed a complete game against Stanford to give the Owls their first ever national championship. In three seasons at Rice, Humber compiled a 35-8 record.
The New York Mets selected Philip with the third pick in the first round of the 2004 draft. Contract negotiations between Humber and the Mets dragged on until January before Humber agreed to a deal that included a $3.7 million signing bonus. In 2005 Humber started 14 games for the Mets High-A affiliate in Port St. Lucie Florida. Philip was then promoted to AA Binghamton, where he exited his first start due to elbow pain after only four innings. The news was not good. Humber was diagnosed with ligament damage and would require Tommy John surgery.
The road to the big leagues had taken a serious detour for the hard-throwing Humber. Ligament replacement surgery involves a long and difficult rehab period that typically lasts an entire calendar year. Humber worked his way back to the mound and after 14 more minor league starts was summoned to the big leagues in September of 2006.
In 2007 Humber pitched at AAA New Orleans and was once again called up by the Mets in September. After the season Humber was the centerpiece of a trade with Minnesota that brought Johan Santana to the Mets. Humber would appear in only 13 games for the Twins over the next two seasons before moving on to Kansas City via Free Agency. Humber was later released by the Royals and the Oakland Atheletics before finally finding a home in Chicago with the White Sox in 2011.
Patience and hard work finally paid off for the former Rice University standout. Humber started 26 games for Chicago last season, compiling a 9-9 record with a 3.75 ERA and an impressive 1.178 WHIP. In his second start of the 2012 season Humber achieved perfection. The first complete game of his career was only the 21st perfect game in MLB history. Humber struck out Brendan Ryan to complete the gem and dropped to his knees near the mound before being mobbed by his White Sox teammates.
During his on-field post-game interview Humber was doused with a cooler full of cold water by teammate Alexei Ramirez. Humber took it in stride and continued with the interview, stating it would be a day he would never forget. Congratulations Philip Humber, your membership application to The Perfect Club has been approved. Say hello to Kate Upton for me.