You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than this happening, but what an honor. -David Cone
Twelve years ago today, David Cone took the mound for the defending World Champion New York Yankees on a glorious Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. "Yogi Berra Day" at the Stadium showcased Don Larson throw out the ceremonial first pitch to none other than Berra himself to commemorate the perfect game thrown during the 1956 World Series. The crowd of 41,930 had no idea that Cone was about to steal the show.
In merely two hours and fifteen minutes, a time even umpire Joe West would shed a joyful tear over, the Yankees had cruised to a 6-0 win over the Montreal Expos behind Cone's most famous start of his career. 27 batters came to the plate, and they all failed to reach base.
On July 18, 1999, David Cone became only the sixteenth pitcher to have thrown a perfect game. Any and all Yankees fans should instantly recognize the iconic moment of Cone dropping to his knees with his hands on his head as current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi hugs him. Etched into Yankee history.
Since then, there have actually been four more additions to the exclusive club. But nonetheless, a perfect game remains one of the most difficult and grueling achievements in all of sports. While the pitcher is most certainly in control of the game, his teammates behind him need to help out in order for a perfect game to happen. Cone struck out ten batters and his fielders helped out with the other seventeen balls put into play.
Three things stick out to me as truly amazing about Cone's perfect game.
1) He never reached a three-ball count.
2) Of the 88 pitches he threw, 68 went for strikes.
3) There was a 33 minute rain delay.
Ironically enough, opposing Cone was a young man that the Yankees would become all too familiar with over the course of the next eleven years, Javier Vazquez.
Question: Do you remember where you were for the game? Did you watch it or hear about it after it had concluded?