Kenny Rogers was hardly perfect in 1994, his second season as a starting pitcher for the Rangers, but for one day, that's exactly what he was. Rogers became the first left-handed pitcher in American League history to throw a perfect game when he did it against the Angels on July 28, 1994, at the Ballpark in Arlington. But if it weren't for center fielder Rusty Greer's diving catch in the ninth inning, Rogers would have lost in his bid for perfection. Greer made a spectacular catch on a slicing line drive to right-center field to rob Rex Hudler of a hit to preserve the perfect game. And Rogers retired the next two batters to give the Rangers a 4-0 win in a history-making game.
Every day until Spring Training, MLB.com/Live will air a classic game on Baseball's Best. Rogers' masterful performance can be seen on Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT. Rogers wasn't exactly on a roll prior to his start against the Angels. He was nursing a sore left shoulder for nearly a month and had won just one game in his previous five starts. And his 4.32 ERA entering the game wasn't exactly awe-inspiring. But Rogers pitched on an extra day of rest, and it sure paid off, as he pitched the fifth no-hitter in Rangers history and the franchise's first and only perfect game. Rogers said after the game that his secret was not thinking about the accomplishment until it actually happened. "I never thought about a perfect game," Rogers said. "I was thinking about the no-hitter until the last out. I just threw strikes. I got ahead of a lot of hitters, and that helped a lot." Rogers' toughest innings were the first and the seventh, as he had control problems in each inning. Two batters reached a three-ball count in the first, and all three batters in the sixth inning had a three-ball count. But Rogers walked the tightrope in both innings by striking out Jim Edmonds to end both the first and seventh innings. In all, Rogers struck out eight batters while throwing 98 pitches, 64 of which were strikes. His biggest scare, however, came in the top of the ninth inning. Greer dove for Hudler's line drive and made the catch while nearly horizontal with the ground and managed to hold onto the ball despite making a harsh landing. "I never thought he was going to get it," Rogers said. "I thought that ball was going to drop, no matter what. Then, I thought the ball was going to pop out." Rogers then retired Chris Turner on a ground ball to shortstop and Gary DiSarcina hit a fly ball to Greer to seal the perfect game. Rogers' perfect game was the first since Dennis Martinez pitched one exactly three years prior in the Expos' 2-0 win over the Dodgers in 1991. Rogers' gem remains the last no-hitter or perfect game thrown by a Rangers pitcher.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.