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Dewayne Wise

Dewayne Wise

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Wise move makes for perfectionComments July 23, 2009 BY NEIL HAYES COLUMNISTHe was booed during his first at-bat.

On Opening Day.

To make matters worse, earlier this week, a misguided few speculated that Ozzie Guillen's decision to option Brian Anderson, who is white, to triple-A Charlotte instead of DeWayne Wise, who is black, was based on race.

Thursday Wise pulled off a Where's Waldo moment for the ages and in doing so etched his name in White Sox history forevermore.

The beleaguered outfielder, who has been booed frequently by White Sox fans this season, made one of the greatest catches in franchise history to preserve Mark Buehrle's perfect game, a 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S.

Cellular Field.

Talk about redemption.

The ball was hit so hard and so deep that Wise had to catch it twice --- once with his glove hand and once with his bare hand.

Wise, a ninth-inning defensive replacement hitting .196, sprinted toward the left center field fence after Gabe Kapler roped a pitch that seemed destined for the bleachers with no outs in the top of the ninth inning.

Few pursuits have seemed so hopeless.

But Wise's glove reached well above the top of the wall to snatch the home run out of midair before he went crashing into the padded fence.

The collision jarred the ball loose as Wise fell back toward the warning track.

It squirted out of his glove but Wise caught it a second time with his bare hand to create a highlight that will be replayed for generations.

"I knew once I came into the game I was going to have to make a play," Wise said afterward.

"Anytime a guy goes into the game late it seems like the ball always finds you.

I told myself I'm going to run through this wall to catch this ball." It was only the second perfect game in White Sox history, the first one occurring in 1922.

It was the 18th in major-league history and the first since Randy Johnson accomplished the rare feat in 2004, and Wise's catch ensure that he will forever be linked to it.

The funny part was, while no-hitters and perfect games are usually littered with spectacular defensive plays, Wise's was the only one that Buehrle needed Thursday.

The rest were fairly routine, and just set the stage for what was to come.

"I was hoping it would stay in there, giving him enough room to catch it," Buehrle said.

"I know the guys were doing everything they could to save the no-hitter, the perfect game, whatever it might be." Guillen has defended Wise throughout the season, often voicing his disappointment about the treatment Wise received on Opening Day.

"That's not fair," he said last month.

"That's not the kid's fault.

It's not his fault that he's leading off.

That's my fault.

It's our fault that we didn't have anybody else.

It's aggravating to me when they are against my players." Earlier this month, before a game against Cleveland, Guillen himself brought up the matter of race as related to Anderson and Wise.

He was chatting with reporters after his usual pregame media session when he said that race played a role in how Wise and Anderson are treated by the home crowd.

To paraphrase, he said that when Wise grounds out boos rain down while fans often shout encouragements to Anderson when he does the same.

Guillen didn't know at the time that some would accuse him of racism after sending Anderson, who was hitting .238, down and keeping Wise, a decision based at least in part on Wise being out of options, which would have forced the White Sox to release him.

"We kept him for a reason," Guillen said.

"He just made a nice play, one of the best plays I've seen, especially in that situation." There weren't any boos to be heard on Thursday, not after Buehrle went to three-ball counts on only four hitters to add a perfect game to the no-hitter he threw against the Rangers in 2007, not after Wise saved the day.

It hasn't been a memorable season for Wise.

Wednesday's memory, however, will last a lifetime.,White-Sox-wise-perfect-23.article
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