Greatest Moments in Marlins History: #22 Kevin Brown Near Perfect Game
By Andy Salgado
10 Jun 1997: Kevin Brown of the Florida Marlins throws a pitch during the Marlins 9-0 win over the San Francisco Giants at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. Brown throw a no hitter throughout the game. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport Marlins.com
Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. 23. In the entire history of baseball there have been only 23 perfect games. A perfect game could be considered one of the rarest feats in all of baseball. Moment 22 a Marlins came very close to accomplishing that moment. On June 10, 1997 Kevin Brown threw the 243rd no hitter in Major League History. How close was he to a perfect game? Let’s find out.
On June 10, 1997 the Marlins were 3Com Park in San Francisco to face the Giants. With only about 10,000 fans at the game they were in for a treat. Kevin got to work early, going 1-2-3 in the 1st on only 10 pitches. Leading off the 2nd inning for the Giants was Home Run King Barry Bonds who went down on 1 pitch, a ground ball to Luis Castillo. The next batter went down on strike. The 3rd out of the inning was a groundout to Edgar Renteria. 6 up, 6 down. The 3rd wasn’t much better for the Giants as it only took Kevin 8 pitches to do away with the Giants. 9 up, 9 down. The 4th inning for Kevin was a bit of a struggle as he threw the whooping double digit pitches of 11. Yea, the batters still went 1-2-3. 12 up, 12 down as we go to the 5th.
In the 5th Barry didn’t go down without a fight this time, getting a full count before going down on the 9th pitch with another ground out to Luis. 6 pitches later Kevin got the next 2 batters out. 15 up, 15 down. In the 6th inning Kevin settled down and got 3 outs with only 10 pitches. Man, 18 batters for the Giants so far and not one base runner. Holy Marlins, we have a perfect game going on! The 7th inning wasn’t much better for the Giants, as Kevin sat them down with only 8 pitches. Kevin is now only 6 outs away from a perfect game.
We enter the 8th inning and Barry flies out to left field. We are now 5 out away from a perfect game. Jeff Kent goes down swinging. Kevin is 4 outs away from a perfect game. Up comes Marvin Benard. Kevin’s first pitch is a called strike! Pitch number 2 is a swing and a miss, strike 2. One more strike and we go to the 9th with a perfect game intact. Pitch 3 is a bit outside. The count is 1-2. Kevin sets up and lets it fly and he plunks Benard. Hit by pitch, Benard goes to first. There goes the perfect game, but wait there is still a no hitter at stake here. The next batter Kevin got on 2 pitches with a force at 2nd. Off to the 9th inning. In the 9th Kevin makes quick work of the first batter with 4 pitches, getting him to ground out to 1st. The next batter takes only 2 pitches with a ground out to the short stop. With one out away from a no hitter Kevin makes short work of that last out striking him out looking with 4 pitches. Kevin just threw the Marlins 2nd no hitter and no hitter number 243 in the Majors. This was a truly masterful game.
To think we came so close to a perfect game is amazing, but to get a no hitter is nothing to sneeze at. I mean it was only the second no hitter in Marlins history. I wonder who was the first?