2019 Top Moment in White Sox History inductee: DeWayne Wise, The Catch

“THE CATCH”
JULY 23, 2009
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD

IN THE NINTH INNING OF MARK BUEHRLE’S PERFECT GAME ATTEMPT VS. THE TAMPA BAY RAYS, VETERAN DEWAYNE WISE WAS INSERTED IN CENTER FIELD AS A DEFENSIVE REPLACEMENT. ON THE SIXTH PITCH OF THE INNING, GABE KAPLER DROVE A DEEP FLY THAT WISE TRACKED DOWN, GLOVING THE DRIVE OVER THE OUTFIELD WALL AND BOBBLING THE BALL AS HE TUMBLED BACK ONTO THE FIELD. THE 18TH PERFECT GAME IN MLB HISTORY REMAINED ALIVE, TWO FINAL OUTS WERE RECORDED, AND ONE WEEK LATER THE TEAM UNVEILED A PERMANENT TRIBUTE TO “THE CATCH” AT THE TOP OF THE WALL IN LEFT-CENTER, FOREVER COMMEMORATING THE MIRACLE PLAY.


On Thursday, July 23, 2009, Mark Buehrle threw baseball’s 18th perfect game, and the second-ever by a White Sox pitcher. And it would never have been possible without a miraculous defensive play by center fielder DeWayne Wise.

Trailing 5-0 in the top of the ninth inning, Rays leadoff hitter, Gabe Kapler hit a deep fly ball to left-center field, where Wise, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement, made a spectacular catch, robbing Kapler of a home run and preserving the perfect game for Buehrle.

The play is considered one of the greatest in White Sox history, not just for saving the perfect game, but also because of its degree of difficulty, the amount of ground covered to get to the wall, and Wise holding onto the ball after briefly juggling it on the way to the ground after the catch.


And now, a personal story.

On Tuesday, July 21, as I sat working on a contract project, my lovely wife, philskatie, a teacher on summer vacation, suggested we jump-start our wedding anniversary celebration by going to the White Sox afternoon game on Thursday. That sounded like a great idea to me. I arranged to take the afternoon off, double-checked the start time to make sure we’d have time to pick up our kids from day care afterward, and had a pair of tickets held at will-call. It all sounded like a great idea.

We had our usual seats in the 534 box (I still have the ticket stubs, of course), the wife with a hot dog, me with a polish and a brat. We were ready to go. So, apparently, was Buehrle. So too, apparently, was DeWayne Wise.

In typical Beuhrle fashion, he whipped through the first few innings before the onions cooled on the sausages. (The entire game lasted 2:03. And I’ve actually been to a Buehrle complete game that was shorter.) The game was fun, the Sox were winning, the crowd was excited.

In the sixth inning, though, the park had become electric. When Buehrle retired the side in the bottom of the inning, the crowd exploded. My wife asked me, “Why is everybody going nuts?” Following now-outdated protocol, I pointed silently to the scoreboard. She got it then. But I confess, neither of us could remember for certain if he had walked anybody. So I threatened convention and asked a guy in the row ahead of us. “Nope,” he said. “At least I don’t think so.”

As with most Buehrle starts, he made it seem ordinary, workmanlike, another day at the office, even as the crowd got more and more animated and excited through the seventh and eighth. I noticed when Wise was inserted for the ninth, but didn’t initially think much about it. Seemed like a good move, though I’d never have guessed how good.

The Catch itself was one of those great moments where when it happens, you only realize how great it was afterward. There was a palpable and audible collective inhale as the ball arced up and out, which you can hear it in the video. The ball drifted some, and it wasn’t clear initially that it was going out until it started carrying farther and farther. And, as you can also hear in the video, the ballpark erupted at and after The Catch. I cannot recall, in all honesty, if I noticed the juggle in real time or not. I saw Wise go down and then hold the ball aloft as he jumped back to his feet.

After that, the perfect game seemed ordained, and the rest of the inning became in its own way anticlimactic. Hernandez’s K and Bartlett’s grounder felt about as routine as the last two outs of a perfect game can feel, I suppose. I can’t really say because, like fellow attendee Brett Ballantini and undoubtedly every soul standing in the ballpark that day,  I’ve never been to another perfect game.

We did, though, go back to a game about 10 days later when, and without our prior knowledge, the Sox were distributing posters of the Sports Illustrated cover commemorating the game. One of these days (I’ve been telling myself for 10 years) I’m going to get it framed, along with the stubs.

They say, correctly, and perhaps obviously, that any no-hitter or perfect game is dependent upon the defense. DeWayne Wise provided a great case study.


And now, back to our regularly scheduled post.

DeWayne Wise could be the poster boy for the replacement-level, journeyman major leaguer. He played a total of 11 seasons, for six different teams, the longest of which was the White Sox, for four years in two different stints. He compiled a grand total of 0.7 bWAR (0.8 for the Sox), and a career slash line of .228/.264/.381, for an OPS of .645. The 2009 season was, statistically, his best: a 0.8 bWAR. Defensively, he was solid, if unspectacular, for his career.

Except, of course, for that one play capping a miracle start. That one great Catch that seals Wise’s little corner of history, and his place of honor in the SSHP White Sox Hall of Fame.


 

Five White Sox are elected to the South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame!

Dynamic duo: Former teammates Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk led five players into our White Sox Hall of Fame. (Topps)


In a phenomenal show of support and cohesion, a record five players were elected to the South Side Hit Pen White Sox Hall of Fame for 2020.

With more than 1,000 votes cast Joe Jackson (81%), Paul Konerko (79%), Carlton Fisk (79%), Harold Baines (78%) and Ed Walsh (75%) all crossed the bar for induction. Walsh, almost unquestionably the greatest pitcher in White Sox history, gains entry thanks to a rounding up of his 74.528% earned in his third year on the ballot.

Player Position Percentage
Joe Jackson Left Fielder 81%
Carlton Fisk Catcher 79%
Paul Konerko First Baseman 79%
Harold Baines Right Fielder 78%
Ed Walsh Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 75%
Ted Lyons Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 62%
Wilbur Wood Right-Handed Pitcher 56%
Robin Ventura Third Baseman 51%
Red Faber Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 42%
Chris Sale Left-Handed Pitcher 39%
Eddie Cicotte Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 37%
Hoyt Wilhelm Right-Handed Relief Pitcher 34%
Ray Schalk Catcher 24%
Sherm Lollar Catcher 21%
Jack McDowell Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 21%
Magglio Ordoñez Right Fielder 20%
Gary Peters Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 18%
Fielder Jones Center Fielder 12%
Tommy John Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 12%
Chet Lemon Center Fielder 11%
Joe Horlen Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 9%
Doc White Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 7%
George Davis Shortstop 7%
Ray Durham Second Baseman 6%
Alexei Ramírez Shortstop 5%
Lance Johnson Center Fielder 4%
Johnny Mostil Center Fielder 3%
José Quintana Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 2%
Matt Thornton Left-Handed Relief Pitcher 1%
Terry Forster Left-Handed Pitcher 1%

By virtue of everyone on the ballot getting at least one vote, nobody drops off for that reason next season. In 2021, five new players will enter the ballot, including José Abreu.

Here are the results of the other elections within the third annual Hall of Fame vote:




Pat Seerey has done very poorly in his two stints in the “moment” vote — and is so disrespected that the amateur White Sox historian who compiles these Hall of Fame articles couldn’t even spell his name right on the ballot (OK, so it might have been like 4 a.m.) — so it might be time to remove him from future voting.







Next year, we’ll have another full slate of players eligible for enshrinement, plus these additional categories. Some of the above will sit a year out in an every-other frequency, and perhaps we’ll even invented a new category or two (suggestions are welcome in the comments, as always).

Thanks to all who participated — you’re the ones who make this all a lot of fun! And stay tuned, because at long last our first South Side Hit Pen White Sox Hall of Fame “plaque” will be published on these pages. We’ll continue to unveil our “plaques” to all winners, throughout the year.


2018 White Sox Hall of Fame winners
Frank Thomas (Hall of Fame Player)
Minnie Miñoso (Hall of Fame Player)
Luis Aparicio (Hall of Fame Player)
Nellie Fox (Hall of Fame Player)
Luke Appling (Hall of Fame Player)
2005 (Season)
Bill Veeck (Contributor)
Exploding Scoreboard (Gimmick)
Disco Demolition (Promotion)
1991 (Uniform)
Ozzie Guillén (Manager)
2005 World Series Sweep (Moment)

2019 White Sox Hall of Fame winners
Mark Buehrle (Hall of Fame Player)
Billy Pierce (Hall of Fame Player)
Eddie Collins (Hall of Fame Player)
1917 (Season)
Nancy Faust (Contributor)
Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Gimmick/Promotion)
Four Straight ALCS Complete Games (2005 Moment)
Mark Buehrle Between-the-Legs (Defensive Play)
Dick Allen (Meteoric Player)
Ozzie Guillén (Character)
Jim Margalus (South Side Sox Member)