Overturning Armando Galarraga's "Imperfect Game"
April 28, 2022
Sixteen students at Monmouth University are <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2022/04/19/armando-galarraga-detroit-tigers-perfect-game-monmouth-university-nj/7364951001/">taking a shot</a> at righting an historic wrong in sports history. In 2010 Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was denied a perfect game, because of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX7yVYjUg6M">an erroneous call</a> by first base umpire Jim Joyce, when Galarraga was an out away from joining a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_perfect_games">very exclusive list</a>.
Major League Baseball’s commissioner refused to overturn the call even though the umpire admitted the call was wrong, thereby denying Armando Galarraga the 21<sup>st</sup> perfect game in the sport’s 134-year history.
The students submitted an 82-page report to Major League Baseball’s headquarters in February, and have cited to precedence in sports history to support their argument in favor of awarding Galarraga the perfect game. In 1983, baseball’s commissioner reversed an umpire’s ruling that Kansas City Royals George Brett was out because he used too much pine tar on his bat when he hit a home run. MLB has also changed the status of a historical achievement 32 years after, removing Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix from the no-hitter list. But the students did not just stop at sports history precedence. They cited court decisions supporting the concept that “a wrong suffered without a remedy is a blot upon the sound administration of justice.” <em>Westinghouse Eletric Corp. v. United Electrical Co.,</em> 1946.
We'll see if Rob Manfred and MLB gives the students' application any real consideration here. To be sure, no party will be "opposing" this application, but MLB may be leery of creating new precedent to have blown calls officially overturned after the fact. We will keep tabs on this one -- as will Armando Galarraga!
And as an aside, if you want to see a lesson in sportsmanship, the day after Jim Joyce's blown call, Joyce and Galarraga met at home plate to present the lineup cards for the next day's game. In the preceding 24 hours, it had become apparent that Joyce made the wrong call, and effectively removed Galarraga's name from the history books. <a href="https://www.mlb.com/video/galarraga-joyce-at-the-plate-c8633629">Both handled the emotional meeting with absolute class.</a>
Thanks to Jennifer Tuz for her contribution to this post, and please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.