Let’s paint the scene.
Bottom of the ninth, two outs. A rare and historic perfect game is on the line. Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga has thrown a perfect 8.2 innings. Will this stellar performance blossom into a perfect game?
The 1-1 fastball is grounded to first base. Galarraga runs over and and covers the bag. First basemen Miguel Cabrera flips it to Galarraga. Galarraga catches it; foot on the bag with ball in hand before the runner reaches the base. History will be made. All that needs to happens is the umpire to motion “out” and the game will live in the history books.
All eyes are on the umpire. The anticipation is building… “Safe”, yells first base umpire Jim Joyce. He flubbed the call!
The energy in the Comerica Park goes flat as they have watched history, in the worst way possible.
Galarraga proceeded to smile as he knew Joyce messed up the call but first baseman Miguel Cabrera’s reaction says it all; Hands on his head, in utter disbelief that this happened. Even the batter knew the umpire had messed up something special.
Now, Detroit recently hasn’t had great success but this could have been something to remember, forever. Respectively it is, but for the wrong reasons.
Ten years removed from the blown call, Galarraga has since tried to get Major League Baseball to overturn the call. (In my opinion, they should.)
Galarraga’ career outside of the 8.2 perfect innings pitcher, was mediocre. Nothing special.
A career 2.5 WAR pitcher through strong 542 Innings Pitched. Based off this high number, you can extrapolate that he was in the league for quite some time.
He still pieced together a nice 6-year career and had an ERA+ of 119 (meaning he was 19% better than the average pitcher that year) in 2008.
Galarraga would have thrown 23rd Perfect Game in Major League Baseball history. But all will live in infamy due to a flubbed call. A perfect game is one of the hardest to achieve in all of sports, let alone baseball.
First base umpire Jim Joyce, has since apologized for messing up the call. In the big picture, this means nothing as whats logged in history is 8.2 perfect innings and nothing to show for it.
Check out his stellar 8.2 perfect inning performance below.
Photo Credit: MLive.com