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ANGELS TIMELINE
Reggie smashes 500th homer

In the history of baseball, from the time Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright invented the game in the mid-1800's until 1999, only a dozen sluggers had hit 500 home runs in their careers.

In 1984, Angel star Reggie Jackson became the 13th to reach that coveted and exclusive goal - a milestone that would lead him directly to Cooperstown.

The anticipation, along with the pressure, began building in August. On Aug. 12, Reggie belted a round-tripper off Oakland hurler Steve McCatty, connecting for the 497th time in his brilliant career.

It would be another month until Reggie notched no. 498, this one coming Sept. 14 at the expense of Chicago mound ace Floyd Bannister. This time, Reggie only had to wait a day before stroking his 21st of the season and 499th of his career off future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.

The blast was an important one, contributing to the Angels' 11-2 victory over the White Sox and keeping the team a half-game behind Minnesota and Kansas City in the Western Division pennant race.

No. 500 became reality Sept. 17 before 28,862 fans at the Big A. Kansas City was leading the Angels 7-0 in the seventh inning when Jackson stepped up to the plate. He proceeded to slug left-hander Bud Black's first pitch - a high, inside fastball - and deposit it into the right field pavilion.

"I was very elated as I was going around the bases," Reggie told reporters after the game, "It was one of my happiest home run trots."

"My first thought was, "That's it." "My second was, I wish we could be winning. "I wished it could've been a seven-run homer to tie the score."

The fans gave Reggie a 15-minute standing ovation. It was the only bright moment in a game which ended in a 10-1 Angel defeat. Ironically, the blast came 17 years to the day Reggie hit his first home run while a member of the Kansas City AttextLgetics. No. 1 was also hit off a southpaw - Angels pitcher Jim Weaver, on Sept. 17, 1967 - at Anaheim Stadium.

Witt is perfect against Rangers

Through 1984, more than 375,000 major league games had been played since 1880. Of that total, only 13 men have brushed immortality by virtue of their perfect performances. One of those immortal baker's dozen was the Angels' Mike Witt.

On Sept. 30, 1984, in Arlington, Texas, Witt became the 13th pitcher in major league history to toss a perfect game. At age 24, he was the fourth yongest ever to fashion such a gem - behind John Ward (20), Jim "Catfish" Hunter (22) and John Richmond (23).

In beating the Rangers, 1-0 Witt, who struck out 10, orchestrated the major league's first perfecto since Cleveland's Len Barker was undefeatable on May 15, 1981 in his 3-0 win over Toronto.

In a short one hour and 49 minutes, 27 Texas Rangers came to the plate and returned frustrated to their dugout. In addition to the 10 Ks, there were eight grounders to second, three to short, one to third, one to first and four fly balls to the outfield. Witt threw just 97 pitches, 70 for strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 23 of the 27 men he faced.

Twice the count reached three balls - both to second baseman Wayne Tolleson. And the second time, faced with a 3-0 situation, the lanky 6-foot, 7-inch right-hander threw two strikes before Tolleson grounded to second.

The only other tense moment occurred in the eighth when Larry Parrish led off with a line drive to the right field fence.

"When he first hit it I thought it had home run possibility." Witt would admit later. "Then I saw (right fielder) Mike (Brown) going back and I thought it had middle-of-the-glove possibility."

Witt who threw his 1st no-hitter as a little leaguer in Fullerton, CA. said he was aware of the perfect game as early as the fourth inning. "But in a game like that, all you're trying to do is get guys out. When I got through the seventh, I started thinking I could do it because I had had good luck against the four, five and six guys in their lineup."

The Angels scored the lone run of the game in the seventh inning as Doug DeCinces singled, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a pair of ground-outs (by Brian Downing and Reggie Jackson).

The rest was up to Witt.

"When I walked out there for the ninth, I was as nervous as I was in my first big league game. But once I threw that first strike, I got right back into it."

Witt made the final inning look easy. He struck out Tommy Dunbar on three pitches for the first out and got pinch-hitter Bobby Jones to ground routinely to second for out No. 2. That left only pinch-hitter Marv Foley standing between Witt and immortality. The pitcher promptly fell behind in the count, 1-0, threw a curveball strike, and then got an easy two-hopper to Rob Wilfong at second who tossed over to Bobby Grich for the final out.

"It probably won't be until tomorrow and the next day, and every day this winter, that I'll be saying to myself, "Hey, I did that." "I mean, to get 27 straight batters out is unbelievable. For me to be able to say it is unbelievable."

The following season, Witt reflected on his feat: "I remember the first hitter of the game. I remember Mickey Rivers and striking him out and thinking after I got him that I had pretty good stuff. And I can remember a few guys - Pete O'Brien and Gary Ward - I thought I would have trouble with that day and I was able to go through fairly easily. That's basically what I remember.

"You know the thing is, if this had happened during the year or early in the year, I think a lot of different things would have happened and I might be feeling a little bit different about it. But it happened on the last day, so nothing was really written about it. It became just another game as far as I'm concerned."

Reggie Jackson put it into perspective, "No-hitters are spectacular...but perfect games, they're something entirely different. When you get 27 guys in order, you've completely dominated a team and a game. That really is perfect. What Witt did was pitch a game no one in baseball history can improve upon."

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