I’ve been fortunate to have photographed four no-hitters during my career, but only one perfect game.
That would change on a warm and humid July afternoon The matinee matchup between the Rays and White Sox was breezing right along in typical Mark Buerhle fashion, the Sox ahead thanks to a Josh Fields grand slam. During the fifth inning, I looked up at the scoreboard and realized he had a no-no going and recall thinking “today”? “It’s sooo hot…” The Dog Days of Summer were in full force.
The fifth inning quickly became the seventh as I clicked into “no-hitter” mode, grabbing the lenses I needed, fresh memory cards and batteries from my office, then heading out to locate an empty seat near the home plate side of the Rays dugout in order to put myself in a position to capture Mark’s last pitch with the scoreboard telling the story in the background. I had concerns that the Rays on deck hitter and/or bat boy might interfere with my line of sight, so I spoke with the batboy after the bottom of the eighth to discuss things, hoping that he would somehow keep me in mind. My heart was pounding as Mark delivered pitch after pitch in rapid succession. I could hardly refocus after each pitch!
I can’t even imagine how HE felt. This frame of the last pitch of Mark’s masterpiece also ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated that week. History!