Pelfrey, ex-teammate of Humber, applauds perfection
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It was another out-of-Mets-uniform experience. Philip Humber, the team's first-round draft choice in 2004, threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox on Saturday against Seattle. That made Humber the seventh man to pitch a no-hitter after leaving the Mets' organization and the fifth to make his major-league debut as a Met and later record a no-hitter as a non-Met.
"It's got to happen eventually" that an actual Met will throw a no-hitter, said Mike Pelfrey, who was the team's first-round pick the year after Humber was drafted and spent time with him in the Mets' minor-league system.
It will take, Pelfrey figured, "a lot of luck, a lot of luck. It's not easy to get through one inning, let alone nine. [But] I think one day it's going to happen."
In the meantime, though, Humber's contribution to this trend of ex-Met pitching glory hit close to home. Humber accomplished the feat while wearing No. 41 for the White Sox, the number worn by Tom Seaver, the Hall of Famer who got closest to a Mets no-hitter -- within one strike against the Chicago Cubs on July 9, 1969. And who, having changed into the garb of the Cincinnati Reds, got his no-hitter in 1978.
On Saturday, in the 7,982nd game of the existence of the Mets, now in their 50th anniversary season, Pelfrey turned in his best outing of the year: eight innings, six hits, one earned run. Still struggling at 28 to realize his early promise, he then watched televised highlights of his former colleague's masterful day.
"If you throw a perfect game in high school, that's impressive, let alone to do it at this level," Pelfrey said. "He's a guy you've always known had great stuff, especially now that his velocity is back up. And good for him."
Pelfrey and Humber were teammates in 2006 and 2007 as both climbed the minor-league ladder through Port St. Lucie, Binghamton and New Orleans. At the time, Humber -- who had thrown 95-mph fastballs for Rice University -- was working his way back from elbow surgery.
"When I got here he was just coming back from Tommy John [surgery]," Pelfrey said. "We played against Rice in college and I saw him there. After Tommy John, he learned how to pitch. He started to develop a changeup and pitched great in Triple-A when I was there."
Against Seattle on Saturday, Humber "was nasty from what I saw," Pelfrey said -- the kind of historic performance that can make an old teammate wonder what it must have felt like.
"I saw his interview afterward," he said. "He was pretty humble. That's the kind of guy he is. I heard him say he didn't think he was dominant. When you retire 27 [in a row], you're dominant."
And, often, a former Met.