On July 28, 1991, Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez accomplished a rare feat: he threw a perfect game. That means he retired 27 consecutive batters (three outs per inning, in a nine-inning game). It was only the 13th time that had been done in Major League Baseball.The Expos were playing in Los Angeles, against the Dodgers. Martinez, seen here in a 1989 photo by Michael Dugas, delivered “the greatest single pitching performance in Expos history,” we reported the next day. And his teammates, who helped him accomplish the feat with their performance on defence, also managed to come up with some offence. The Expos, at that time almost 20 games out of first place, won 2-0.Known as El Presidente, the Nicaraguan-born right-hander was by then a 36-year-old veteran. He told reporters who asked him for his reaction: “Joy, happiness… thanks to God that He gave me this opportunity so late in my career.” (However, Martinez’s career was far from over. While he left the Expos a couple years later, he continued to play in the majors until 1998.)Martinez was a recovering alcoholic, something he was not shy to discuss. And in his moment of triumph, he held himself out as an example: “I know I talk about my drinking a lot, but I haven’t had a drink in seven years and I know there are people out there now who are dying, who are reaching out for help and not getting any. They can look at me. I want them to look at me and say it’s never too late.”
The uncropped photo.
MIKE DUGAS /