Baseball fans all over the league would love Bode Dockal to come to their favorite team’s next game. He’s fairly new to the sport, having been to only two major league games, but the 9-month old might be baseball’s luckiest charm.
The only two games he’s ever been to were both perfect — he was in attendance at Philip Humber’s perfect game at Safeco Park on April 21. His next game was Felix Hernandez’s perfecto last week.
There have only been 23 perfect games in the nearly one and a half centuries of baseball history, and while there have been three this year, it’s still one of the rarest feats in baseball.
Bode’s parents are both Chicago transplants, and White Sox fans, so they decided to bring their young son to the ballpark during the Sox’ only trip to Seattle this season. They even bought seats right behind the White Sox dugout for the occasion.
Paul said it was in the sixth inning that he first realized the historic nature of the game Chicago’s Philip Humber was pitching.
“I turned to my wife, because it was a warm day and she didn’t know how long we should keep Bode out there,” Paul told MLB.com’s Ian Kay. “I said, ‘something really interesting is happening here. I can’t talk about it, but I think it’s happened less than 20 times in the whole history of baseball.’”
By the final out of the game, Humber had become the 21st pitcher to throw a perfect game. And while the 9-month-old Bode couldn’t realize what he was there for, his parents knew.
“It’s one of those things that I don’t think he could understand how important it was for me to be with him until he has a son of his own,” Paul said.
A few months later, Paul Dockal’s brother came to visit the family, and they decided to take in a day game at Safeco.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, one of the game’s best pitchers, was on the mound that day, to face the Tampa Bay Rays. Improbably, he pitched the third perfect game of the season, just the 23rd of all time.
It’s not exactly rare to witness in person the Tampa Bay Rays on the wrong end of a no-hitter — tens of thousands of people can say that. Still, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone, especially someone who hasn’t even had his first birthday yet, could see one team on both ends of a perfect game in the only two games they’ve been to.
By the end of his second day at the ballpark, young Bode Dockal had seen 8.7 percent of all the perfect games ever thrown, even if he probably won’t remember them. He’s been to two-thirds of the perfect games that have happened in his lifetime.
Hopefully the next game Bode Dockal is a bit more evenly matched, otherwise he might start getting spoiled.