It has gone down in history as one of the worst blown-calls of all time. On June 2, 2010, the Tigers were playing the Indians at Comerica Park, and pitcher Armando Galarraga had been dealing. It was down to the final out of the ninth inning, no hits, no walks, a perfect line.
Then Jason Donald of the Indians knocked a ball into play. Miguel Cabrera got to it and tossed it to Galarraga who was covering first, and first base umpire Jim Joyce shouted the words every fan in Comerica dreaded hearing.
The perfect game was over. It ended with the next batter, and Galarraga walked off the field with nothing better than a complete game shut out. Except, of course, everyone watching knew better. Donald had not tagged first before Galarraga’s catch. He was out. It had been a perfect game, and the later replays proved it.
The next day, Joyce returned to the field and admitted his fault in the blown call and tearfully, sincerely, apologized to Galarraga for robbing him of that piece of history.
Galarraga, of course, graciously accepted the apology — because what else could he do? — and that day’s game went on. But the moment lives forever for Tigers fans, because it was a perfect game, and one that Galarraga will never get proper credit for.
Especially now, in the era of replays and call reviews, it’s obvious the safe-at-first call would have been overturned and the day would have been Galarraga’s. Joyce obviously felt terrible for the part he played in making the wrong call, but it chafes a little to know if the game had been played only five years later, the outcome would have been so much different.
So here’s to a game that was perfect, even if the official record says otherwise.