A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. This has happened only 20 times since 1900, but last week it looked like another was about to go into the record books. Detroit’s Armando Galarraga was one out away from becoming part of baseball history when umpire Jim Joyce mistakenly called Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first base.
At the time, Joyce thought he made the right call, though replays later revealed that he had it wrong. “I have replayed that play so many times, my head hurts,” Joyce said. “All I can see is Armando Galarraga’s face. He didn’t say a word to me. I can see his face and him not saying anything. When that happens, you think you’re right.”
Some of Galarraga’s teammates argued the call, but Armando just smiled and went back to the pitcher’s mound. After the game, Joyce admitted his mistake, apologized profusely and hugged the pitcher. All reports indicated that the veteran umpire was devastated.