“Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga pitches the 21st perfect game in MLB history,” should be the headline tomorrow, or “Armando Galarrage pitches unprecedented third perfect game in a single MLB season.” Well Jim Joyce, the first base umpire, had other ideas on the night of June 2nd, 2010. He called Jason Donald safe on an infield single that would have ended the game.
You have to watch the replay here. Even Donald looked as if he couldn’t believe the call. The play wasn’t even close enough to call it a bang bang play and give Joyce the benefit of the doubt. There is not a shadow of doubt in the replay that Donald was out, and almost any other umpire in the MLB, except maybe CB Buckner, would have made that call correctly.
This came two batters after Austin Jackson made an incredible catch to preserve the perfect game in the top of the ninth (replay here). Even Galarraga was smiling after this play, it seemed destined to be… but Joyce made it about him and not the game and it cost Galarraga a place in MLB history. But, Galarraga was able to get the next batter out and earn the win with only 88 pitches.
He may not go down in history as pitching a perfect game, but he will forever be known as the man who got robbed of a perfect game. This game just reminds people that there needs to be some sort of special review in baseball. The MLB took the first step with home-run reviews, but there needs to be a manager challenge similar to the NFL, because that play would have most definitely been overturned.
Photo Credit: rincondelbeisbol.com