Only 23 pitchers have tossed a perfect game in MLB history and, according to The Athletic, Armando Galarraga wants to retroactively be the 24th.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of umpire Jim Joyce blowing a call at first with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the “victim” wants his ruling overturned and be given the credit he deserves, and one of the biggest supporters of his case is Joyce.
“What can I do to have a better finish to the story? … How can Major League Baseball give me the perfect game? Because it was perfect, right?”
-Armando Galarraga, The Athletic
Hell almost broke loose one out away from perfection when Indians infielder Jason Donald hit a ground ball to the right side. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera fielded it, threw to Galarraga who was on the run covering first, Galarraga caught it and stepped on the bag before Donald reached, but Joyce called Donald safe.
Would be great if the @MLB changed this! Can’t be mad at Jim Joyce, he was a major league umpire for over 10 years. Umpires make mistakes, they’re only human but Galarraga deserves to be in the record books for a perfect game @tigers #MLB pic.twitter.com/EmFoml57ie
— Jake Paulson (@JakePaulson) May 14, 2020
Donald is then, by rule, rewarded a hit and both the bid of perfection and a no-hitter were lost. Galarraga retired the next batter and to this day is credited with a one-hit shutout, hence why fans credit him with the saying “28 up, 28 down.”
If the play in question came in the fifth inning, it would be easier to argue against the former Tigers starter. However, after retiring 26 of 26 batters, then making a difficult play, only for it to be blown, is deserving of a perfect game.
If Galarraga had booted the ball, which a lot of pitchers have in that situation, he would still get the no-hitter, but he executed it perfectly and got punished for it. If Donald had come around to score after an intentionally booted ball it wouldn’t have even counted towards his ERA.
Funny how baseball works.
Joyce admitted his mistake after the game, saying how it was “more than just a blown call.”
It certainly was more than just a blown call. While admitting to his mistake, he also said nobody feels worse about it than him. He is very lucky Galarraga handled the situation with grace and Tigers manager Jim Leyland probably did not see the replay before he went out to argue the call.
My plans 2020 pic.twitter.com/3GgRckLG56
— Lane Adams (@LA_Swiftness) May 19, 2020
Throwing a perfect game immediately puts you in the same sentence as Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, and Randy Johnson. While Tigers fans and other die-hard baseball fans may put Galarraga in that category, it is not yet cemented in the record books.
If the play happened during the “replay era,” Galarraga’s outing would be deemed perfect, but even without that argument, he deserves to have the MLB recognize his outstanding performance.