Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Thursday that Major League Baseball would expand its instant replay policy for the 2014 season, giving managers three "challenges" per game, in an effort to reduce incorrect calls. But in the case of these badly-blown calls, it's too little, too late. Here are a few of the worst calls in baseball's pre-instant replay era.
Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game
June 2, 2010
Officially, there have been 23 perfect games thrown in Major League Baseball history, and former Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from having one of them. In one of the most infamous blowncalls of all time, umpire Jim Joyce called Indians batter Jason Donald safe at first after grounding out to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, preemptively erasing Galarraga’s name from the record books. Replays clearly would have shown Cabrera’s throw and Galarraga’s foot beating Donald to the bag.
Chuck Knoblauch's phantom tag
October 17, 1999
A call so bad it’s actually comical, Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch supposedly tagged Red Sox Jose Offerman while turning a double play in Game 4 of the 1999 American League Championship Series. He was nowhere close. The Yankees went on to win the series in five games.
Johan Santana’s no-hitter
June 1, 2012
Mets fans may not be pleased to see this on the list, but there’s no denying the chalk that flew up after St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran pulled a ball down the left field line. Umpire Adrian Johnson ruled it foul and Johan Santana’s went on to pitch the first no-hitter in Mets’ history. Replays just might have caught Beltran’s sixth inning close call. You be the judge.
Matt Holliday safe at home
October 1, 2007
With a one-game playoff set to decide the fate of two National League West contenders, the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies needed extra innings and a blown call to decide who would play on. Entering the 13th inning up 8-6, the Padres brought in future Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman, who promptly blew the lead. With the game tied, 8-8,Jamey Carroll of the Rockies hit a sac fly to deep right field, allowing Matt Holliday to tag up and score the winning run. Not so fast. Replays showed that catcher Michael Barrett had dropped the ball on the catch, but blocked Holliday’s slide, causing him to miss home plate entirely. Barrett tagged Holliday as Holliday walked off the field for what should have been the out.
Joe Mauer’s “foul” ball
October 9, 2009
With no outs in the 11th inning of an American League Divisional Series game against the Yankees, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer laced a would-be extra-base hit down the left field line. The ball landed nearly a foot in fair territory just ahead of Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera, who crashed into the left field wall, but umpire Phil Cuzzi ruled it foul. The Twins would go on to load the bases in the 11th only to strand them aboard while the Yankees would win the game, the series and the World Series. Watch the play here.
Derek Jeter’s 1996 ALCS home run
October 9, 1996
Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier became part of the action when he reached over the right field wall during the first game of the 1996American League Championship Series. To the dismay of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco, Maier pulled in Derek Jeter’s fly ball in the eight inning, which the umpires then ruled a home run. Despite the efforts of Orioles manager Davey Johnson, who was later ejected, and reliever Armando Benitez, who sprinted out to the outfield to contest the home run, the umpires upheld the call and the game was tied. The Yankees won the game in the 11th inning on a Bernie Williams walk-off homer. Watch the play here.
Ron Gant pulled off the bag
October 20, 1991
In a series that ended with the Minnesota Twins winning 4-3, this play looms in the “what-if” Hall of Fame. Atlanta Braves second baseman Ron Gant ripped a single to left field in the third inning with a runner on first and two outs. As the runner advanced to third, the throw came into the pitcher, who whipped it over to first as Gant scurried back to thebag. Gant arrived in time but got tangled with Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek who pulled him off the bag and applied the tag. The umpire called him out and the Twins went on to win the game by one run.
Carlton Fisk interference
October 20, 1991
In the 10th inning of Game 3 of 1975 World Series, Cincinnati Red Ed Armbrister laid down a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate. On his way to first, Armbrister crashed into Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. Fisk’s throw sailed into the outfield, allowing the winning run to advance to third with no outs. The umpire declined to call inference and the Reds went on to win the game and eventually the series in seven games. Watch the play here.
AJ Pierzynski dropped strike three
October 12, 2005
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski struck out to send Game 2 of the American League Championship Series into extra innings. Until he didn’t. Upon swinging at strike three, Pierzynski took off for first base as if Los Angles Angels catcher Josh Paul had dropped the pitch. Pierzynski was called safe and after a pitch runner stole second, Joe Crede hit a two-out double to win the game. Replays confirmed that the pitch never hit the ground and Pierzynski shouldn’t have been able to take first. Watch the play here.
Julio Lugo safe at home
July 26, 2011
In the 19th inning of a game that lasted almost seven hours, Julio Lugo of the Braves was called safe in a highly-contestedcall at the plate. Lugo, who was on third, took off for home on a ground ball to third base and looked dead-to-rights. The play cost the Pirates the game and somehow single-handedly put the kibosh on a promising season. The Pirates, who were five games above .500 at the time, finished the season losing 41 of their final 50 games. Watch the play here.
Howie Kendrick safe at first
October 8, 2009
Los Angles Angel Howie Kendrick couldn’t have been more out in Game 1 of the 2009 American League Divisional Series against the Red Sox as first baseman Kevin Youkilis got the ball, swung around and tagged him a good foot before he touched first base. It didn’t matter. Umpire CB Buckner called him safe not once, but twice on similar plays as the Angels went on to win the game and the series.