A Don McCormack column...

Paying another visit to the variety store...

Hey, hold on!

First, let's be sure to make something perfectly clear - we thoroughly enjoy listening to the Indians radio crew of Tom Hamilton, Mike Hegan and Matt Underwood on WFUN.

Hamilton, in particular, has become what Joe Tait has been for more three decades to Cavaliers fans in that hearing him call a game is like sitting in the back yard with your buddies talking about the game.

It's perhaps the ultimate compliment that can be paid to a broadcaster.

That having been said, something Hamilton said during the Indians' 7-1 whipping of the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday afternoon almost made us driving the lawnmower into one our dreaded giant maple trees.

Somehow, Hamilton and Underwood got on the subject of perfect games. When they came back from a commercial break, Hamilton resumed talking about perfect games and said this:

"Lee Richmond and Monte Ward had perfect games, but they were back in 1880, so they don't count."

Mr. Hamilton, we beg to differ - as does the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

This is a touchy subject with us because one of Ashtabula County's own - John Lee Richmond - was the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game, a story we told at length on these pages on the 119-year anniversary of that gem back on June 12, 1999.

The 5-foot-10, 142-pound Richmond, hurling for the Worcester club of the National League, made history against the Cleveland Forest Cities by facing 27 batters and retiring each and every one.

Since that day almost 126 years ago, only 16 other regular-season perfect games have been tossed, the most recent being by Randy Johnson, then of the Arizona Diamondbacks, at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.

Just how rare is a perfect game? ; ;Consider:

- One has occurred about once every 21,250 games.

- Meaning the chance of actually seeing one is a nearly invisible .00005 percent.

- The odds of being struck by lightning while walking from our car to the ballpark are actually better than those of seeing a perfect game thrown.

- For example, in the year 2000 alone, 350 people were struck by lightning.

So, with all due respect, Tom, please don't dismiss John Lee Richmond's place in Major League Baseball history.

After all, he's one of Ohio's own and, more specifically, one of Ashtabula County's own!

Umpire strikes back

Speaking of one of Ashtabula County's own, Rick Nemet recently was on the umpiring staff at the prestigious Wendy's Spring Classic, held on April 20-22 at Brookside Park in Ashland.

Brookside Park is home of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournament each year, an event Nemet has worked, not to mention the state volleyball tournament, too.

Nemet, a Jefferson resident, worked six games at this year's Classic, which featured 24 high-caliber squads from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York and West Virginia.

This year marked the 13th year the Classic has been contested.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. He can he reached via email at donmac@suite224.net.

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