Domingo German’s path to perfection traverses through career-ending threats

Nestor Cortes pours a bucket of water on Yankees pitcher Domingo German to celebrate his perfect game against Oakland on June 29, 2023.

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On Wednesday night, Yankees pitcher Domingo German achieved a remarkable feat in the realm of baseball. However, his journey to this point has been anything but flawless. The right-handed starter had to deal with a fair share of controversies and turmoil in his personal and professional life before reaching this historic milestone.

In a dominant performance, Domingo German threw a perfect game, becoming only the 24th player in MLB history to achieve this remarkable feat. This occurred during the Yankees’ 11-0 victory against the Oakland Athletics, making him the fourth Yankee pitcher to accomplish such a feat.

Domingo German displayed exceptional control and didn’t allow anyone to derail his path to perfection throughout nine innings and with 99 pitches. However, in the last few years, he had to face everything that carried a threat to wreck his career and even put a stop to it. However, the Dominican pitcher displayed amazing resilience to come back after every controversy and surmount every challenge to shine brightly.

Here is a look at how the Yankees starter persevered through tribulations to achieve the remarkable triumph of a perfect game.

No playing time led Domingo German to contemplate quitting

In the 2014 offseason, Domingo German, who was 30 years old at the time, joined the New York Yankees as part of a significant five-player trade with the Miami Marlins. This trade involved prominent players such as Nathan Eovaldi, who moved to the Bronx, and Martin Prado, who was acquired by the Marlins.

Unfortunately, Domingo German was unable to take the mound during the entire 2015 season as he was sidelined due to undergoing Tommy John surgery. After his inactive season, he was non-tendered by the Yankees. However, in December, the pitcher re-signed with the team on a minor-league contract.

When contemplating his recovery journey, Domingo German revealed that he had contemplated abandoning the sport entirely. He admitted that numerous thoughts crossed his mind, including the idea of quitting baseball and the fear of never regaining the level of pitching prowess he possessed before the injury.

Domingo German to start in Yankees vs. Orioles
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

In 2017, the Yankees gave him his MLB cap. But he made his start almost a year later. Domingo German got an MLB foothold only in 2019 and successfully secured a position as a starter in the Yankees’ rotation. With an impressive tally of 18 wins, which stood as the second-highest in all of baseball, he emerged as a crucial component of the Yankees’ postseason strategies. 

Domestic violence threatens family, career

However, his ascendancy in the Yankees’ ranks came to a sudden halt in September 2019. Domingo German was accused of domestic violence by his would-be wife Mara Vega.

At a charity event, a regrettable incident unfolded, involving Domingo German and Mara Vega. It began with a troubling act as the Yankees pitcher allegedly slapped his wife. A frightened Vega sought refuge in a locked room, attempting to shield herself from German’s violent behavior. Overwhelmed with fear, she reached out to the wife of a teammate, who acted swiftly.

Domingo German with wife Mara Vega.
Instagram/ Mara Vega

The incident eventually came to light through a Yankees staff member who was informed by German’s girlfriend. It led to serious consequences for Domingo German, who was placed under suspension.

In January 2020, he was handed an 81-game suspension for perpetrating domestic violence. This was the harshest sanction ever meted out to an MLB player.

When Domingo German returned to the Yankees lineup in February 2021, it was evident that some teammates, particularly veteran Zack Britton, expressed discontent with his comeback. During that period, Britton commented that there was no place for Domingo German either on the field, off the field, or within the game itself. Also, contending for a spot in the rotation, the pitcher failed to make a significant impact on the Yankees’ roster.

Obstacles threaten to derail his 2023 season

In 2023, he won the role of a starting pitcher and the rest is history. However, his season was not entirely without obstacles. In a game against the Blue Jays in May, Domingo German was ejected and subsequently handed a 10-game suspension for having foreign substances on his hands, commonly referred to as “sticky stuff.”

In his last two starts, Domingo German struggled on the mound. He surrendered seven runs against the Boston Red Sox and faced criticism from the fans as he was booed off the mound. His performance didn’t improve in the subsequent game against the Mariners, where he allowed 10 runs (eight of them earned) in just 3 ⅓ innings of play on June 22nd.

Domingo German's wife Mara Vega is watching her husband's historic moment on TV on June 29, 2023.
Instagram/ Mara Vega

However, with the perfect game, everything seems to have transformed. Domingo German has joined the esteemed company of Don LarsenDavid Cone, and David Wells, as Yankees pitchers who have accomplished this remarkable feat.

Three years have passed since that distressing incident, and both Domingo German and Mara Vega have overcome their challenging circumstances. They have since married, showcasing their resilience and determination to move forward from the troubled past. Following his historic perfect game, his wife posted on Instagram:

“Perfect Game. You don’t know how great happiness I feel for you, because you deserve it, because you have worked hard for this, because I’m so proud, because God is not wrong and is changing tears of pain for tears of joy because it’s worth it fight every day to keep growing, because from mistakes you learn, because I would like to say so many things but I have no plans, God is good. 28 / June / 2023 Unforgettable, so excited.”

Wednesday’s perfect game has the potential to serve as the catalyst that Domingo German required to rejuvenate his career. This remarkable accomplishment could provide the much-needed boost of energy for the Yankees, who are presently in third place in the AL East standings.

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