Fans showed up to Banner Island Ballpark on May 2 to watch the Stockton Ports honor one of the city’s own.
Former Ports and Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden had his jersey retired and threw out the first pitch before the Ports game against the San Jose Giants.
“It’s unbelievable that a entire city would rally behind you and stick with you through the up and downs of a career, minding though it was a short career, but here they are standing strong as I tried to stay strong. As a city, as a community, together. That is kind of the emotion I feel, this is something we shared together,” said Braden.
Braden graduated from Stagg High School. He then attended American River College where he posted a 12-4 record in two seasons before transferring to Texas Tech.
Selected by the A’s in the 24th round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) draft, Braden was sent to the Ports where he posted an 8-0 record at Banner Island Ballpark.
Braden gained national attention on May 10, 2010 by throwing the 19th perfect game in MLB history on Mother’s Day.
“With my mother having passed away, but having my grandmother in the stands to experience that. The baseball fete is what brings emotion to its highest, but having her in the stands on that day, you can’t really explain anything, can’t really describe it,” he said.
A’s public announcer Dick Callahan was at the event.
Callahan, who has called over 20,000 games, cites the perfect game as the one event he will never forget.
“The first couple of innings it was 1-2-3, 1-2-3,” said Callahan. “Then you start thinking. Never think perfect game, it’s always a no-hitter.”
While walking out to the field for the ceremony to begin, a group of fans from the Bay Area wearing A’s apparel started to chant Braden’s name.
Braden walked over to the stands for a selfie with the group.
“Dallas Braden gave me the best memory I have in the 27 years of ever going to baseball stadium with my mom,” said fan Brian Aller-Ninges.
The ceremony, which was a year in the making, took place before the game started, and when it was over, the Ports No. 50 was retired.
“Dallas came out to a game last year and I told him I would like to do this if you’re interested, and he was flattered by it,” said Ports Team President Pat Filippone.
In left field, fans from Stockton, and the Central Valley can remember the kid who started in little league and returned home after his baseball days were over.
“No. 50 may be on that wall, but number 209 is in the heart,” said Braden.