As the saying goes, it’s always a great week when you start it off with Ryan Verdugo news. The Giants’ ninth round draft pick in the 2008 MLB Draft turned Melky Cabrera trade chip turned Royals farmhand turned Red Sock turned Athletic turned Uni-President 7-Eleven Lion of the Chinese Professional League pitched the first perfect game in that league’s history over the weekend.
It was a 0-0 score heading into the bottom of the ninth, but his team helped him out. Here’s the highlight package:
Verdugo made his major league debut for the Royals back in 2012: a single start against the Seattle Mariners in July. He gave up 6 earned runs, 2 walks, and 8 hits in 1.2 innings. And then that was it. He turned 31 back in April and signed with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions in February. He was last in the big leagues in 2015 — the Angels had purchased his contract from the A’s in July and then granted him his release that offseason. Per this CPBL site:
Prior to his signing with the Uni-Lions, Verdugo was pitching in the Mexican League and the Mexican Pacific Winter League with the combined record of 3.13 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 22 starts over 144 innings of work.
He’s literally walking the earth playing baseball wherever they’ll take him. It’s probably really tough to understand his feelings at any given moment. He was drafted by a storied franchise, worked his way up to the big leagues, got demoted, then traded to another storied franchise, then traded to another, before being released by the Angels, and then you’re pitching in winter leagues just looking for a job before traveling to China — not even the KBO, the even more obscure CPBL. But then, success! A perfect game — the pinnacle of the position.
Maybe you can’t always get what you want, but getting exactly what you want exactly the way you want it happens even less often. Perseverance is an underrated ability because it’s hard to demonstrate. The process of “just keep doing what you’re doing” seems almost recklessly dead-endish, but then you get results like the video above. But, yeah, Ryan Verdugo didn’t give up and look what he accomplished.
Congratulations, Ryan Verdugo.