20 Seasons Highlights Countdown: Unmatched Perfection
In 2022, the Washington Wild Things are celebrating their 20th Frontier League season. The team will be celebrating in numerous ways Opening Weekend, beyond that and in several other ways. As part of our celebration, we're counting down some of the historical highlights the organization and team has seen occur over the first 19 seasons of Wild Things' baseball in the league.
The countdown isn't in any specific order in terms of importance, but it's time we visit some of the best on-field moments, significant historical accomplishments, records, traditions and more.
Plans for the celebration of the 20th season of Frontier League baseball for the Washington Wild Things are still in the works and whenever they get announced, you can rest assured the party will not stop all season long with the festivities kicking off May 13-15 with Opening Weekend.
The perfect game is one of the rarest, if not the rarest of feats in the game of baseball. It's only been done 23 times in the history of Major League Baseball, which dates to the 19th century.
The first perfecto was spun June 12, 1880, by Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs against the Cleveland Blues. One hasn't been thrown in the bigs since 2012 when Felix Hernandez accomplished the historical feat against the Tampa Bay Rays pitching for Seattle. It happened three times in 2012: Phillip Humber for the White Sox against the Mariners, Matt Cain for the Giants against the Astros and Hernandez.
Of the 314 recognized no-hitters in MLB history, 23 are of the perfect-game variety, which is roughly 7.3%.
It's only happened once in Frontier League history, and it belongs to the Wild Things. Before we dig into Matt Sergey's historical accomplishment, let's dive into the Frontier League numbers.
The league has witnessed 32 no-no’s in its history, with the first coming in 1997 (Christian Hess, Richmond). The most recent one occurred July 22, 2021, with five Joliet pitchers combining to no-hit the Schaumburg Boomers. That was one of three no-hitters last season. The other two were thrown by Michael Austin, a former Wild Thing, for Southern Illinois and then four pitchers for Tri-City.
One of the no-hitters was a 10-inning combined outing. Seven have been fewer than nine-inning affairs. Only one is a perfect game. One of 33 is 3.03%.
So, let's dive back into history now. We must return to August 24, 2014, for a game against the Gateway Grizzlies at then CONSOL Energy Park. At the time, the Frontier League was 22-years old.
At 25 himself, Sergey had pitched an inning in relief three days earlier against the River City Rascals in a 3-1 Wild Things' loss. He allowed a run on three hits the same day as his good friend Michael Hartley died. In frustration, Sergey tossed the Wild Things' bullpen water cooler across right field.
Three days later, he wore the contents of that cooler. It was Sergey's fourth start for Washington after signing with the team June 25. In the perfect game, Sergey fanned nine Gateway Grizzlies. As in seemingly every perfect game, there were tense moments. Those included Gateway's Tommy Richards' fly ball to deep left field where Washington left fielder Scott Kalamar made the grab about 10 feet shy of the wall.
The perfecto was clinched when Gateway DH Jimmy Obermark grounded a slow roller to shortstop Ryan Kresky, who made the throw to first to clinch it.
It was the third and is the last no-hitter throw by a Wild Things' pitcher as Sergey joined Adam Palmer (2004) and Jason Hickman (2002) as pitchers to do that in the Wild Things' colors.
And he did it with family members in attendance, including his 92-year-old grandmother Ned Harvey. He used just 100 pitches to do it.
That day, the Wild Things were paced by Kresky's three hits offensively and multi-hit performances by Andrew Heck and Jose Dore. Maxx Garrett and Heck homered that day. Kresky and Heck drove in two apiece. The attendance was 1,964.
To keep up with the countdown, see below for trips back in the past to our previous three stops on the countdown. Stay glued to our social media, website and more for more information regarding our big plans for the 20 Seasons Anniversary celebration, because it's sure to be wild. We're giving you the presents, the parties, the fun and more as a thanks for your support over the years and the support we know will continue to be shown to us.
20 Seasons Countdown History:
20: James Harris Makes History with First Wild Things' cycle
19: Barry Bonds a Wild Thing? We revisit the moment that got the Wild Things national attention!
18: Two Triple Plays in Wild Things history
17: Postseason Awards, All Stars
16: MVP's, Pitchers of the Year
15: Midseason All Stars, ASG's hosted in Washington
14: Longevity, Attendance Milestones
13: Pat McAfee: A Professional Baseball Player
12: Major Traditions