SEATTLE - Philip Humber had Tommy John surgery before his career even started. He bounced around a bit as he tried to make it in the major leagues.
Now, well, Humber is just perfect.
Humber threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
It was baseball's 21st perfect game and first since the Phillies' Roy Halladay threw one against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. It was the third in White Sox history, joining Mark Buehrle's against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009, and Charles Robertson's against Detroit on April 30, 1922.
Before Saturday, Humber was best known as one of four prospects the New York Mets traded to Minnesota for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana in February 2008. That's no longer the case - not after tossing the majors' first no-hitter of the season and the second April perfect game in major-league history.
"I don't even know what to say," Humber said. "I don't know what Philip Humber is doing in this list. No idea what my name is doing there, but I'm thankful it's there."
Drafted third overall by the Mets in 2004, one pick after Justin Verlander went to the Tigers, Humber was sidelined by elbow-ligament replacement surgery the following year and didn't win a game in the majors until 2010 with Kansas City.
With the White Sox lined up on the top step of the dugout, Humber fell behind, 3-0, to Michael Saunders leading off the ninth. But he rebounded to strike him out. John Jaso then flied out before Brendan Ryan, another pinch-hitter, struck out to end the game.
Ryan took a checked swing and missed at a full-count pitch that was outside and low, but the ball got away from Pierzynski. Ryan lingered outside the batter's box for a minute, unsure of umpire Brian Runge's call, and Pierzynski fired to first to complete the play.
"I was more nervous than I was in the World Series," Pierzynski said. "There was no buildup for this, it just happened. And you want it so bad for the guy on the mound and you want him to have that achievement forever and you want to have him remembered forever."
Humber fell to his knees when it was over, and his teammates rushed toward the mound to congratulate him.
"I saw it get away from A.J. and saw the umpire ring him up and at that point, [I felt] a ton of emotions and a lot of joy and excitement," Humber said. "Most of all, just gratitude. Just thankful for where I'm at."