Philip Humber: Time for the White Sox Pitcher to Think 'What Now?'

Andres CordobaContributor IIIApril 22, 2012

Philip Humber shortly after pitching the 21st perfect game in MLB history.
Philip Humber shortly after pitching the 21st perfect game in MLB history.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

April 21, 2012 baseball history was made as Philip Humber pitched a perfect game. It took him only 96 pitches to register nine strikeouts and retire 27 straight Mariners batters.

I'm not going to beat a dead horse here and talk about how incredible the game was (though it was). Instead, I'm going to bring up an important question: What comes next for Philip Humber?

As you may or may not know there have only been 21 perfect games pitched in MLB history. Take a second to think about that number. In all the countless games and years dating back to 1876, only 21 men have pitched a game and retired 27 straight hitters.

Countless legends have gone through their careers without ever pitching one. Names like Nolan Ryan, Warren Spahn, Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove earned a multitude of accolades during their playing careers, but can never claim a perfect game to their resume. 

Now, back to the Philip Humber. This game brings his record to 1-0 on the year and his season ERA to 0.63. Career-wise, he has a record of 12-10 and an ERA of 3.90. Obviously those aren't dazzling career numbers, but luckily for the former Rice Owls star, the 29-year-old righty hopefully still has a long career ahead of him. 

I'm going to list off a few names right here see if you can spot the pattern: Kenny Rogers, Dennis Martinez, Tim Browning, Mike Witt and Lenn Barker. The answer? They all pitched perfect games in their careers. While that's a great accomplishment to have on your resume, none of the said pitchers are getting inducted into the Hall of Fame any time soon. In fact, I doubt most people reading that list know who those people are. 

If Philip Humber continues down the road he's going, he'll be one of those guys—a mediocre career with one incredible game.

However, on the other side of things, of the 21 perfect games pitched, you have seven guys who are either current or future Hall of Famers.

They are: Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay.

For all we know Philip Humber returns from this game and becomes a legend. The chances of that however? Probably non-existent as he has struggled his whole career to stay in the starting rotation for teams. And even with Saturday afternoon's perfect game, it's just one day out of many more in his pitching career.

Personally, I believe this is one of those feel-good stories we hear every year in sports before watching the person fade away. Seriously, when was the last time you heard the name Dallas Braden?