The things you remember are absolutely mind-blowing to me. In July 1991, I was five years old. But whenever I think about Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, I remember two days before. Mark Gardner pitched nine no hit innings before finally allowing two hits in the tenth inning. Jeff Fassero entered the game and allowed one hit and Gardner’s man to score.
I remember being in the basement at my grandparents house watching the game on television. Gardner had pitched a game that I didn’t completely grasp at the time. And, I remember it being a Friday night. Sure enough, it was.
When Martinez pitched his perfect game, I don’t remember anything but as an Expos fan growing up highlights of this game have been replayed so many times that I feel that I was watching it live listening to Dave Van Horne say ‘El Presidente, El Perfecto’ but that would have been impossible. Why, you ask? Well I didn’t get TSN – the channel that showed the game – until I was a teenager.
The time that Martinez and Gardner spent with the Expos is for the most part before I became a coherent baseball fan but these two games in what was mostly a lost season stayed in my memory and are really my only memories of them while they were playing.
Since I was able to learn what they, especially Martinez, meant to the franchise it made me remember even more details and learn them. Ron Hassey catching his second perfect game. Marquis Grissom making the final out and Larry Walker playing first base. Mike Morgan pitching an equally good game keeping it very close.
The Expos have had great pitching performances in their history from Martinez to Pedro Martinez, Jeff Juden and back to Bill Stoneman and others in between. These two days as a five year old have gone from me in the basement not knowing what was going on to an appreciation of knowing where I was when part of this great weekend in baseball history happened.