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Original Issue

Ump Zelig

If pitching history is being made, chances are Ted Barrett is in the background

On July 18, 1999, Yankees leftfielder Ricky Ledee made a bobbling catch in the top of the ninth, the 26th out in David Cone's perfect game against the Expos. Catcher Joe Girardi shot home plate umpire Ted Barrett a glance, a mix of relief and recognition that they were on the cusp of witnessing history.

On June 13, Giants rightfielder Gregor Blanco made a diving catch for the 19th out in Matt Cain's perfect game against the Astros. Catcher Buster Posey made eye contact with the plate ump. "It reminded me of the same look," Barrett (above) says. "It's unspoken but understood."

Barrett, who has been in the majors since '94, is the only umpire to work the plate for two perfect games. He also called Angels righty Ervin Santana's 2011 no-hitter—but pitchers shouldn't start asking for the ball on the nights Barrett is behind the plate. According to Dan Brooks of, which compiles umpire scouting reports, Barrett's strike zone tendencies have a "standard pattern." He just might be a good luck charm, though. This year the no-hit Zelig worked the bases for White Sox righty Philip Humber's perfect game and the Mariners' six-pitcher no-hitter. "It's a tremendous accomplishment by the pitcher," Barrett says. "We just happen to fall into the rotation."