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Worst of the worst calls

In this image taken from video and provided

In this image taken from video and provided by, Cleveland Indians' Jason Donald, right, runs to first base as Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga takes the throw during the ninth inning. (June 2, 2010) Credit: AP/

1 Soviets given

three chances, 1972The United States lost in men's basketball for the first time in Olympic history when officials put more time on the clock twice in the final seconds, allowing the Soviet Union to win the gold-medal game, 51-50, on Aleksandr Belov's basket at the buzzer. The Americans refused to accept their silver medals

2 Diego Maradona's "Hand of God," 1986

Argentina's Diego Maradona appeared to direct the ball into the goal with his left fist in a 2-1 victory over England in a 1986 World Cup quarterfinal. The ref didn't notice. Maradona explained he scored "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God." Argentina went on to win the Cup.

3 Jorge Orta called safe, 1985

Don Denkinger called the Royals' Jorge Orta safe at first (replays showed he was out) with none out in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, setting up a rally that produced a comeback victory. Kansas City easily won Game 7. Denkinger later worked with a young umpire named Jim Joyce.

4 Jeffrey Maier leans over wall, 1996

Maier, 12, reached over the wall at Yankee Stadium during Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, interfering with Orioles rightfielder Tony Tarasco as he waited to make the play and deflecting Derek Jeter's fly ball into the stands. Umpire Rich Garcia declined to rule interference, calling it a home run. The Yankees won in 11.

5 Jim Joyce's blown call at first costs Armando Galarraga perfect game, Wednesday night.

One out away from becoming the 21st pitcher in major-league history to throw a perfect game - and, remarkably, the third to do it in 25 days - Galarraga's bid was spoiled by Joyce's blown call at first base with two outs in the ninth. Joyce called the Indians' Jason Donald safe after he hit a grounder to the right side that first baseman Miguel Cabrera fielded and threw to Galarraga, who stepped on first in time for the out. Or so he thought. Joyce admitted after the game that he got it wrong.

6 Brett Hull in the crease, 1999

The 1999 Stanley Cup Finals ended on a triple-overtime goal in Game 6 in which the Stars' Brett Hull beat the Sabres' Dominik Hasek for a goal when his skate appeared to be in the crease - a violation of the rules at the time. The refs didn't notice. The player-in-the-crease rule was changed the next season.

7 Colorado gets a fifth down, 1990

Officials mistakenly gave Colorado a fifth down that allowed it to score the winning touchdown on the final play in a 33-31 victory over Missouri. Colorado later won a split national championship. Fifty years earlier, Cornell won a game over Dartmouth under similar circumstances but later chose to forfeit.

8 Chike Okeafor pulls down Rich Seubert, 2003

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue called it the worst failing by officials during his term: The 49ers' Chike Okeafor pulled down the Giants' Rich Seubert on a desperation pass by field-goal holder Matt Allen. There was no interference call. The 49ers won the wild-card playoff game, 39-38, after trailing 38-14.

9 Drew Pearson's Hail Mary catch, 1975

On the play that put the term "Hail Mary'' into sports jargon, the Cowboys' Roger Staubach found Drew Pearson for the winning touchdown in a 1975 playoff game against the Vikings. Pearson appeared to push off cornerback Nate Wright. An enraged Vikings fan beaned field judge Armen Terzian with a bottle.

10 The Islanders were offside, 1980

The Islanders' first-Stanley Cup-clinching, overtime victory over the Flyers was aided by an earlier goal on which linesman Leon Stickle did not notice that Butch Goring was outside the blue line when he received a pass by Clark Gillies from inside the zone. Goring then passed to Duane Sutter for the score.


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