It's been three years since Mark Buehrle, with an assist from Dewayne Wise, was perfect. July 23, 2009 saw the second perfect game in White Sox history as well as arguably the most memorable defensive play in the 112-year existence of the franchise.
Gabe Kapler led off the ninth and battled with Buehrle, fouling off a few pitches before getting one he could handle. As his line drive flew toward the left-center field wall, it looked like Buehrle's bid for perfection was going to sail into the bleachers.
"When i connected with that ball, I thought for sure it was a hit," Kapler said by phone on Tuesday.
But Wise made that legendary catch, one that's commemorated on the green left field wall. The words "THE CATCH" sit on the top part of the wall, between images of Billy Pierce and Frank Thomas. Buehrle may find himself on that wall at some point, too, only a few feet from the spot where Wise saved his perfect game.
Kapler, who played 12 seasons in the major leagues with six teams, was quickly able to recognize the importance of the play.
"Initially, I was disappointed because Wise came down with the ball," Kapler said. "But then I thought, wow, what a magical moment for Dewayne Wise, Mark Buehrle is now going down in history. I lost a home run and an extra base hit, but really what they gained was probably substantially more valuable. In a way, I was thrilled for those guys."
After Buehrle got Jason Bartlett to ground out to Alexei Ramirez to secure perfection, Kapler joined his Rays teammates in applauding Buehrle from the top step of the visitor's dugout. Like Kapler, his teammates were able to put one loss -- or one out -- in perspective and recognize their opponent's achievement.
"It was an all-team effort. I don't remember anybody saying let's get up on the steps and clap," Kapler said of the gesture. "It was just like, we appreciated a magnificent performance and let's show our appreciation for it."