Thursday, June 3, 2010

Past Imperfect

I was relieved to learn that Bud Selig has refused to overturn the blown call that cost Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game last night. Just think of the giant kettle of worms that a reversal would have uncovered -- imagine all the people scurrying to the record books to find other instances of "unfairness" and then demanding that they be retroactively corrected. Heck, this wasn't even the first time that a perfect game was ruined by a bad call at the last moment. How about this game from July 4, 1908 between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies (as reported on by the NEW YORK PRESS):

The Fourth of July [doubleheader] showed a new world's record in George Wiltse's retirement of the [Phillies] without a hit or run in ten innings in the morning game... Wiltse came within an ace of letting down his opponents in nine rounds without a man reaching first base. [Umpire] Charles Rigler... suffered from an attack of astigmatism on the fourth serve to George McQuillan, the 27th Phillie who strode to the plate, and called a ball when Wiltse put a third strike over. Then the left-hander hit his rival hurler in the arm, and Philadelphia got its only man on base in the game.

No, I did not know that off the top of my head; it came from G.H. Fleming's wonderful book about the 1908 NL pennant race, THE UNFORGETTABLE SEASON. I thought of this quote immediately upon hearing of Galarraga's unfortunate near-miss. Note that the Phillies' manager let pitcher McQuillan hit even though McQuillan represented the potential final out of the perfect game. We don't need no stinkin' DH!


gweagle said...

I agree...and for something so petty as well. I mean; if it were a 1-0 score and the next batter after the blown call hits it out of the park and they lose the game because of said call; then Detroit fans would be on more stable ground. Bud Selig did the right thing in not reversing the call.

With that said; I don't see them expanding instant replay either (which I would have no problem with them doing since the other sports use it and their sport officials haven't been replaced and in fact their games have gotten better. NHL notwithstanding in America though.) since again; the incident is petty. He only took away a perfect game after all.

Chris Barat said...


I can foresee MLB instituting a policy like that of the NFL, in which a manager is permitted a certain number of video-replay challenges per game. As the history of replay in the NFL has shown, it takes a while to come up with a good policy, but the current NFL policy seems to work reasonably well; no reason why MLB shouldn't take the hint.