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David Cone pitches perfect game

On July 18, 1999, New York Yankee David Cone pitches the 16th perfect game in major league history and 14th in the modern era with a no-hit, no-walk victory over the Montreal Expos.

David Cone had made his name as a pitcher with the New York Mets from 1987 to 1992. His best year was 1988, when he finished with 20 win to just three losses and a 2.22 ERA in 231 1/3 innings. Four years later, he was traded to Toronto, where he helped the Blue Jays win the World Series. During the off-season, he signed with the Kansas City Royals, with whom he cruised to a 16-5 record and a 2.94 ERA and won the American League Cy Young Award in the strike-shortened 1994 season. In 1995, the journeyman Cone again switched teams, this time joining the New York Yankees. He helped the Yankees to World Series wins in 1996 and 1998, cementing his status as a clutch big-game pitcher.

In 1998, Cone won 20 games and lost just seven with a 3.55 ERA. The 1999 Yankees could not match the previous season’s heroics, but on July 18, Cone put on a show for the fans in Yankee Stadium. It was Yogi Berra Day, and Yankee great Don Larsen–who wowed fans with a perfect game in the 1956 World Series–was in the stands. Despite the 98-degree heat, Cone needed only 88 pitches, 68 of them strikes, to set down 27 Expos in a row. The speed of his fastball increased throughout the game, and his slider darted in and out of the strike zone, confounding the Expos. With two outs in the ninth inning, Expo shortstop Orlando Cabrera hit a pop-up that was easily caught by third baseman Scott Brosius for the last out. Cone dropped to his knees, dumbfounded, before being bear-hugged by his catcher, Joe Girardi, and carried off the field by his teammates.

Cone hung on with the Yankees for two more seasons, helping them to two more World Series wins, in 1999 and 2000.

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