Armando Galarraga Denied: Where Does Jim Joyce Rank on Worst Calls Ever?
On Wednesday, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was a single out from joining one of the most exclusive clubs in sports: hurlers who have thrown a perfect game.
A horribly blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce kept Galarraga from etching his name in the annals of Major League Baseball history.
While the call was undeniably awful, it got me thinking: Was Joyce's call one of sports' all-time worst, or was it merely an understandable mistake on a tough-to-tell play?
10.) The Final 2 Seconds of the 1998 Rose Bowl
The conclusion of the 1998 Rose Bowl was mired in controversy.
Down 21-16 with two seconds left to go, and the ball inside the Michigan 30 yard line, the Washington State Cougars lined up and got ready to spike the ball.
As you can see in the video, WSU QB Ryan Leaf clearly drills the ball into the turf before the clock hits zero.
Either the refs weren't watching the clock closely enough, or they were ready to get home for dinner. Regardless, the Cougars were robbed of a final chance at the end zone.
9.) Horrific Hochuli
An incredibly entertaining and high-scoring game early in the 2008 NFL season was overshadowed by referee Ed Hochuli's horrendous incomplete pass call.
Rolling to this right, while attempting to cock-back, Jay Cutler inexplicably lost the ball. Even more inexplicably, Hochuli blew his whistle and ruled that Cutler's arm had been moving forward.
The Broncos ended up winning the game, 39-38.
Hochuli received upwards of 25,000 emails after the game and called it the "low point of his career."
8.) Jordan's Push Off
One of the most memorable images in sports hides one of the NBA's most egregious non-calls.
In game 6 of the 1998 finals, the Bulls trailing by one point, Michael Jordan drove to his right with just under eight seconds. As he crossed the top of the key, with the Jazz's Bryon Russell overplaying his drive, Jordan used his left arm to send Russell hurdling forward.
There is little doubt that this was an offensive foul. Should the refs have made the call given the gravity of the moment? That remains up for debate.
All anyone remembers is this: The final iconic moment in sports' most iconic career.
7.) Joey Crawford Hates Physics
One of our most recent blown call comes form this year's NBA playoffs.
Joey Crawford, who has a history of questionable calls in the playoffs (just ask Tim Duncan), calls Marcus Camby for a foul on Steve Nash.
Only problem? Camby wasn't within five feet of Nash when the foul was called. Somewhere, Tim Donaghy smiled.
6.) Brett Hull's Skate in the Crease
The situation couldn't have been any more pressure-filled.
Game Six of the 1999 finals, the Buffalo Sabres on the brink of elimination, bravely staved off Dallas Stars attacks through two and a half overtime periods.
Midway through the third OT period, during a helter-skelter scramble in front of the net, Brett Hull was able to slip the puck past Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek for the Stanley Cup winning goal.
Of course, Sabres fans and instant replay will tell you that Hull's skate was in the crease.
5.) Soviets Steal a Victory in Munich
Heading into the 1972 Olympics, the American basketball team was supremely confident that they would return home with another gold medal.
Since the inclusion of basketball into the Olympics in 1936, the American team had never lost a game.
All that changed under a veil of troubling controversy in the gold medal game.
The chain of confusing events started after the Americans went up 50-49 with just three seconds to play. The video tells the rest of the story that left a team bewildered and a country smoldering.
4.) Maradona's Hand of God Goal
The most famous goal in the history of futbol probably should never have been a goal at all.
In a game that spawned one of the most intense rivalries in international soccer, and was played only four years after the Falklands War, Diego Maradona scored a goal in the 52nd minute, using his right hand to punch it in.
Asked later about whether or not it was in fact a handball, Maradona coyly replied, "It was the hand of God."
3.) The 5th Down Game
In the old Big 8 Conference, there were no bigger rivals than Colorado and Missouri.
Down 31-27 with just minutes to play, the Buffaloes drove the length of the field to get inside the Mizzou 5 yard line.
What happened next lives in infamy to this day.
2.) Jim Joyce Aborts History
Armando Galarraga has mostly pitched in obscurity during his short career, posting a 19-17 career record before Wednesday night's game.
After recording 26 outs in a row against the hapless Cleveland Indians, Galarraga stared destiny in the face.
Jim Joyce blinked.
1.) Don Denkinger is Never Welcome in St. Louis
In the most famous miscall in baseball history, poor first base umpire Don Denkinger blew a game-changing call late in Game Six that left the door open for the Kansas City Royals to rally and win the game.
The Royals would eventually go on to win the Series in the 7th game and Mr. Denkinger's name would forever be synonymous with blown calls.