Remembering when Armando Galarraga was more than perfect

Leon Halip

One night in June, Armando Galarraga wasn't just perfect. He was even more than that.

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When is a game more perfect than perfect yet not perfect at all?

Yeah, you know where that one was going.

We do know a thing about perfect games in Detroit. Actually, we know a little more than we'd like to if you get right down to it.

On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga threw 27 outs of perfect baseball -- or so we thought -- only to have Cleveland's Jason Donald ruled safe at first by a blown call that will live in infamy. Galarraga and the Tigers got the next batter out, too, making an unofficial 28-out perfect game. Whether the record books record it or not, I guess that will have to do.

You know it was perfect. I know it was perfect. First-base umpire Jim Joyce knew it was perfect and tore himself apart for the erroneous call. The Tigers knew it was perfect, and GM rewarded Galarraga with a car the next day as if it actually were.That was followed by a moment of forgiveness between the umpire and the one most effected by the call, and a few rounds of feel-good moments since.

However, Galarraga's career has been anything but feel-good since then. He finished 2010 with a 4.91 ERA and within months of throwing a more-than-perfect game he was no longer with the Tigers. He has pitched in just 13 MLB games for the Diamondbacks and Astros since the start of 2012, with an ERA elevated above 6. He made a spring training stop with the Orioles in 2012 and is now a member of the Reds' organization ... where he had a spring training locker near Donald's. Oh, the business of baseball.

If we learned anything from that day in 2010, I suppose it's the power of forgiveness and remembering that even with millions of dollars on the line, it's still a game, a game played by, organized by, officiated by and followed by people. But we also learned that on any given day, you can be perfect. You don't have to be the best at what you do -- Galarraga was far from the best pitcher in the Tigers' rotation. But for one special night, he wasn't just perfect. He was more than perfect.
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