On Saturday April 21st, 2012, I witnessed sports history in person. I not only witnessed it person, I photographed it. My assignment on this beautiful Seattle day in April may have been the highlight of my sports photography career. On this day I photographed a ‘Perfect Game’ in a Major League Baseball game, something that has only happened 21 times in Major League Baseball history. What is a perfect game? A perfect game is when a starting pitcher pitches a complete game (9 inning) without allowing a single hit and without walking a single player. Compared to a no hitter which is no hits allowed, but a pitcher can walk batters.
The pitcher? Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber threw the perfect game against, unfortunately, my favorite team, the Seattle Mariners. I cannot describe the nervousness I experienced when Humber walked to the pitchers mound in the bottom of the 9th inning. I was well aware of what was going on leading up to the 9th and I was receiving special instructions from my photo editor. All staff were on standby waiting for my images of the captured perfect game. “This will be by far the biggest sports headline of the day” my editor said in an email. Lots of pressure on me, capture the final pitch/out, capture the celebration and sprint to my computer to upload the images to the editor as fast I can. It was exciting!
I decided to position myself in the photo well directly behind home plate. Usually a video camera is positioned in this same spot, luckily not on this day. I was ready to capture history! Then it happened, Seattle Mariners Brendan Ryan check swung for the called strike three and then Humber pumped his fist in celebration.
Almost immediately, the entire White Sox team tackled Humber. Unfortunately, I missed this shot when for some reason the home plate umpire walked right inline of my shot. If you ask any sports photographer, they will tell you many photos have been ruined by umpires, referees, coaches and teammate moving in between your lens and the subject. It’s just another part of being a sports photographer.
Luckily I was still able to capture some great celebration shots including the pile.
As soon as I captured this shot I had too sprint my computer located in the outside 1st base photo well. As I was uploading the images, the stadium cleared out fast. Once cleared, Humber returned to the field for a post game interview and a photo with the Seattle Mariners grounds crew.
As stated above, this just may be the highlight of my sports photography career.
You can view the complete photo set from the perfect game at: http://uspresswire.com/sets/127932