One of the more rare feats in baseball is a pitcher throwing a no-hitter. Want to know something even more rare? A perfect game. Through 8 ⅓ innings, Carlos Rodon was perfect.
That means not a single Cleveland batter got on base. No hits, no walks, no one hit by a pitch. Rodon was dealing quick, decisive pitches, retiring each batter he faced. One of my favorite unwritten rules about baseball is the dugout rule. Whenever a pitcher is throwing a perfect game or no-hitter, the rest of the team ignores him in the dugout. They simply disregard his existence. The camera crew will cut to a dugout shot, and the pitcher will be sitting by himself at the end of the bench.
Thing is, ballplayers are very superstitious. One of my former teammates always hopped over the foul line when running out to the field. If he got chalk on his cleat, he rubbed it away before the inning started. I never washed my hat. Halfway through the season, a line of crusty white sweat would appear on my black hat, and there it would stay until the season ended. So it stands to reason ball clubs don’t want to mess with their pitcher’s mojo if he’s on a roll. And that’s exactly what the Chicago White Sox did to Carlos Rodon.
In the top of the ninth, Josh Naylor hit a slow grounder to Jose Abreu at first. Abreu barely beat Naylor to the bag to record the out, but not before the play was reviewed on video replay. At that point, the perfect game was still in-tact. However, things changed when Indian’s catcher Robert Perez stepped-in.
With one out, Rodon threw a slider that went wild and hit Perez on the foot. Perez trotted to first, ending the perfect game. Carlos Rodon’s only reaction was a smile.
Carlos Rodon throws 20th no-hitter in White Sox history
“I threw it, and it just took off like one of those snakes, and I go, ‘Oh, there goes the toe ball,’” Rodon said after the game. “You hear that ‘clunk’ and I was like, ‘Motherf***er.’ All you can do is laugh about it. It wasn’t meant to be.”
White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada fielded a hard-hit grounder to record the final out. After that, the limited attendance erupted, and the White Sox celebrated on the mound. White Sox catcher Zack Collins said, “That was the most incredible thing I’ve ever been a part of behind the plate. I was about as nervous as I’ve ever been back there.”
Carlos Rodon went through Tommy John surgery in 2019 and fought hard to rehabilitate himself. Speaking of the White Sox organization, he said, “They knew I had something to prove. They knew I was hungry. I’m blessed to be able to play this game. I was non-tendered. A lot of people were out on me. It’s a special moment, and a lot of people should be proud because they helped me do this.”
Rodon’s no-hitter was the 20th thrown by a White Sox pitcher. The club holds the record for most no-hitters in the American League.