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The author’s grandfather, John Taylor, fully celebrating the 1983s.
Jonathan Taylor/South Side Sox

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Why Humber’s perfect game means so much to me

A wink from beyond helps seal a perfect game

On the night of April 16, 2012, the Chicago White Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles at The Cell, 10-4. Following the game, I laid in bed thinking about the questions I was going to ask my grandpa: “What do you think of the Sox’s chances this year?”; “How do you feel about the throwback, red pinstripes we are wearing on Sundays?”; “Is Chris Sale the real deal?”

My grandpa was a huge Sox fan. He had shared stories of traveling to Comiskey Park as a kid, the wonders of Nellie Fox, and the promised land of 2005. I had never watched baseball before 2012, but after hearing his stories about the White Sox I wanted to start following along.

Sadly, I never got to ask him any of my questions. He passed away, unexpectedly, the next day.

In the whirlwind of losing a loved one, my fledgling Sox fandom took a back seat. I knew they lost their home series to Baltimore, and I knew they were headed to Seattle hovering around .500.

I did not follow the White Sox game on April 21, 2012. While Philip Humber was making history in Seattle, I was at my grandpa’s funeral. When I finally saw what Humber did, and realized the significance of a perfect game, it felt as if my grandpa was giving me a wink from the beyond.

Despite my grief, I knew that I would be a baseball fan for the rest of my life. It no longer mattered that I was never able to know his opinions on the throwback jerseys or Chris Sale. It also no longer mattered what he thought of the 2012 season (if you do not remember, the end of that season was bad … “lose-11-of-your-last-15-games-during-a-pennant-chase” bad).

All that mattered was that the baton of being a White Sox fan, for better or for worse, had been handed off to me.


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