Perfect Brewer 

June, 26, 2007
Last night in Round Rock, Texas, Brewers farmhand Manny Parra threw a perfect game for Nashville. Here's the local take, and here's the the official word from the Sounds (scroll to bottom for audio of the last pitch, and celebration, courtesy of radio broadcaster Chuck Valenches).

Here's something that might surprise you: Parra's perfecto is just the third nine-inning perfect game in the 104-season history of the Pacific Coast League.

Here's something that should surprise you: All three of them have come in the last seven seasons (and no, I can't really explain that).

In 2001, John Halama threw one for the Tacoma Rainiers. I was driving south on I-5 that night and, with my radio signal dying, I pulled over in Olympia, Washington and listened to Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto call the ninth inning.

Early in 2003, not even two years later, John "Way Back" Wasdin threw one (including audio of last inning) for the Nashville Sounds.

When Halama threw his, he was 29 years old, and coming off two seasons as a decent starter in the majors. When Wasdin threw his, he was 30, and trying to live down that nickname he earned while racking up a 5.07 career ERA in 258 major league games.

That's not Manny Parra, though. Not at all. He's relatively young, and has good stuff. Four years ago, after a fantastic Single-A season, Parra was one of the Brewers' top prospects. But then he began to suffer from shoulder problems, and wound up having surgery in 2005. This obviously set back his development, and he entered this season as Milwaukee's No. 18 prospect (and behind seven other pitchers).

Parra opened this season with Double-A Huntsville and was dominant: 2.68 ERA in 81 innings, with 81 strikeouts and only two homers allowed. But then, if healthy he should dominate Double-A hitters. He's 24. This is the fourth straight season in which he's pitched at least a few games in the Southern League, and he's always dominated there.

Last night was Parra's second career Triple-A start. In his first, last Wednesday, he lasted only six innings and gave up four walks and a home run. So we probably shouldn't get too excited, just yet. And of course Brewers are both well-stocked in starting pitchers and doing just fine in the standings. But if you're looking for one more reason to think the Brewers are more than just a one-season wonder, Parra's a pretty good place to start.