Armando Galarraga And The Perfect Game That Wasn't

What should Bud Selig do about the blown call that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game? Seems to me the answer is fairly obvious.

It would be a huge mistake for Selig to go back and overturn the call. You can’t rewrite history, pretending the call never happened or the following batter never came to the plate. Jason Donald got a base hit. He didn’t deserve one, but it’s a base hit. You can’t simply erase it to make history look how you would like it to.

Overturning the decision and saying it never happened would open a can of worms that baseball could come to rue. Do you overturn a bad call, say, on the final day of the season if a batting title is at stake? Do you overturn a call that ruins a perfect game if the next four batters get on base? Do you overturn the 1985 World Series?

What if Galarraga had fallen apart and the Indians came back to win? Do you overturn that victory? A victory is a lot more important than a perfect game; shouldn’t that be protected? If baseball overturns the call but says this is a unique instance and it would never overturn a victory, that is an indefensible position. How can you overturn one and not the other based solely on what happened afterward?

The fact is, you can’t rewrite history. You can only interpret it and learn from it. And if this leads to increased use of instant replay, that would be good for the game.

But baseball can do something to acknowledge the historic nature of Galarraga’s performance. It can make it an unofficial perfect game. Like Harvey Haddix’s 12 perfect innings in 1959. Or Ernie Shore’s recording of 27 consecutive outs after Babe Ruth walked the leadoff hitter and was ejected for arguing.

Put Galarraga’s performance below the list of perfect games, and add an asterisk with an explanation of what happened. Did he deserve better? Of course. But he didn’t get it, and nothing can change that.

Scroll to top