Rice set to honor Humber for perfect game

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros pitcher Philip Humber was humbled when he learned Monday his alma mater, Rice University, will honor him for the perfect game he pitched last year for the White Sox.

Rice will unveil a commemorative plaque Thursday at Reckling Park in Houston, recognizing Humber's accomplishment and featuring the text of the email he sent to Rice head coach Wayne Graham shortly after pitching his gem against the Seattle Mariners on April 21.

"It's pretty cool," Humber said. "I didn't expect anything like that. It means a lot to me. That's really neat. Whatever they do is more than they needed to."

Humber combined with Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend and David Aardsma to form one of the most dominant pitching staffs in college baseball in 2003, with Humber shutting down Stanford with a complete game in the College World Series title game.

He's always been grateful for his time at Rice and his relationship with Graham.

"I emailed him [after the perfect game] and we stay in touch through the grapevine, but I felt for some reason I needed to tell him, 'Look, you had a lot to do with what happened,' and also express to him how much he meant to me when I was in school there.

"He still has a big influence on me, and some of the things he taught me and the way he's coached me has made me been able to do the things in the game and play as long as I have. I appreciate the opportunities I had there and his influence."