Back with yet another retro recap of a past historical sporting event. This one is David Cone pitching a perfect game on July 18, 1999 against the Montreal Expos. This is the ESPNClassic “Drive Thru” version of the game, meaning its edited down to one hour (actually 42 minutes + American Gladiators and Bosley Hair Restorations commercials).
A little background on the game, it was Yogi Berra Day at the stadium and Don Larsen threw out the first pitch to Berra, who are ironically the only battery mates involved in a perfect game in World Series history.
The Yankee lineup consists of the usual suspects from the late 90s dynasty (Bernie, O’Neill, Jeter, Brosius, Tino, and Knoblauch), except now manager Joe Girardi is catching and Ricky Ledee is starting at the revolving door that was known at the time as Left Field.
Tim McCarver was apparently pontificating for the Yankees local tv coverage back then, as this was pre-YES Network and pre-FOX hiring McCarver to pontificate and ignore the games on a national level.
TOP 1st – The Expos have the lite hitting Wilton Guerrero leading off and DHing, as apparently with the introduction of interleague play NL teams didn’t quite understand that the DH is probably a good spot to put a good hitter. Or its a possibility they had no good hitters to insert into the DH spot as Wilton K’s looking on 3 pitches to start.
Someone by the name of Terry Jones is batting 2nd and playing CF for the Expos. Wikipedia reveals he played only 227 games in his career before being out of the league for good. However, he laces one toward the gap in RF but O’Neill makes a tremendous sliding catch to save extra bases (and make it possible that I am even typing about this game today). Think about it, that ball gets by O’Neill there is no perfect game, and best case this game goes down as a one hit shutout that is never seen again. He makes the catch, and I am blogging about it almost a decade after the fact.
Eventual Yankees failure Rondell White flies out to left to end the inning.
BOTTOM 1st – Javier Vasquez is making the start for the Expos, making this his second most famous appearance at Yankee Stadium (the other one involved surrending a grand slam to Johnny Damon). He plunks Knoblauch to start.
After a Jeter fly out, O’Neill grounds out to first and is as usual angry about it. Andwe findout the Expos are rolling with a $10M payroll and are seeking a new stadium, seems like that ended up with DC getting a team they don’t want to watch http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/07/07/ST2008070702853.html
Bernie grounds out to end the inning.
TOP 2nd – Vlad Guerrero is batting 4th for the Expos and is swinging wildly as usual. He strikes out swinging at a pitch the was at least a foot and a half off the plate.
Jose Vidro is up next, as this lineup isn’t as horrible as you would expect considering its the Expos and a $10M payroll. He grounds out. As does Brad Fulmer. We also find out that the Expos were 34-55 coming into the game and 21.5 games out of first place.
Now time for some editing as a disembodied voice informs us Ricky Ledee hit a 2 run HR to the upper deck in RF in the bottom of the 2nd, and the Yankees ended up putting up 4 in that inning capped by a solo HR from the future Captain.
A brief rain delay took place, and Cone struck out the side in the top fo the 3rd.
TOP 4th – Wilton hits one that carries to deep right, but O’Neill track hit down. Jones K’s and White pops out to right to make it 12 up and 12 down.
We skip the bottom of the 4th.
TOP 5th – Vlad and Vidro both fly out while McCarver tries to put the jinx on Cone by bringing up talk of the perfect game before he is even through 5. Cone goes to 3-1 against Fuller, but gets him to fly out.
We skip ahead to top of the 7th.
TOP 7th – Apparently the Expos played a night game in Baltimore the night before and didn’t get into NY until 330AM AND this is a day game. You could also argue that this Expos team was so young that they shouldn’t be tired, and that this was pre-MLB drug testing so the Expos could have taken some uppers before the game if they needed energy.
Brosuis robs Wilton of a infield base hit by cutting off a grounder before it got too deep in the hole at SS for Jeter to have a play. Replay confirms that if Brosuis doesn’t get to that ball Jeter has NO shot to throw out the speedy runner from that deep in the hole. Some guy named James Muton strikes out swinging very wildly, and we get a glimpse of Hideki Irebu (aka Hediki I-rob-u or Igawa version 1.0) in the dugout. White strikes out weakly as well, andthe ground is going crazy.
Skip the bottom of the 7th, and somewhere the Yankees got a 5th run but I am not sure how or when.
TOP 8th – Vlad pops up on one pitch. Vidro with a hard grounder up the middle, but Knoblauch tracks it down, sets himself, andmanages to throw properly to 1B, which at the time was a miracle in its own right (Just ask Keith Olbermann’s mom http://espn.go.com/mlb/news/2000/0617/590292.html ). Fullmer K’s looking to make it 24 up and 24 down.
The disembodies voice informs us the Yankees added a 6th run in the bottom of the 8th.
TOP 9th – Cone’s location is just absolutely sick at this point, hitting the glove almost dead on every pitch. He K’s Widger on three pitches. Ryan McGuire pinch hits. McCarver says Cone hasn’t had a 3 ball count all afternoon, and we already know that incorrect as he went 3-1 in the top of the 5th against Fullmer. But its not like McCarver is being paid to pay attention to the game or anything. Ledee almost drops a tough blooper to LF which he lost in the sun before snagging it underhanded. Eventual defensive phenom SS Orlando Cabrera is all that stands between Cone and baseball immortality and he pops up to Brosius. Cone gets mobbed at the mound, some lady stands up directly in front of Don Larsen so we can’t see his reaction in the crowd, and Cone gets carried off by his teammates. Before getting into the dugout Brosius fakes that he is going to toss the ball into the crowd.
As always, comments highly encouraged.