Acts of Grace 11 years ago

On this day 11 years ago, history should have been made for the Detroit Tigers and one of their pitchers at the time, Armando Galarraga.

After retiring 26 consecutive batters, first base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call on a routine grounder where the Cleveland Indians batter was out at first base. Instead, Joyce called the runner safe, and in an instant, the perfect game was gone.

What would have been only the 21st perfect game at the time in all of Major League Baseball history was instead recorded as a one-hit victory for Galarraga and the Tigers. Baseball is nothing if not rule-bound and a statistics-driven game, so the record will probably forever be unchanged

In a press conference following the game, Joyce openly admitted he blew the call. In the immediate aftermath, fans and players were upset with the blown call. 

But not long after the game ended and the shock wore off, according to ESPN, Galarraga and Joyce met in the umpires locker room when "Galarraga walks up to Joyce and while hugging him says, 'We are all human.'" 

The next day Galarrga presented the lineup card to a tearful Joyce and, in the act of reconciliation, patted the umpire him on the back.   

There are innumerable lessons from this situation, not the least the grace displayed by both men. Joyce, who to this day says he can't forget his mistake, the blemish on what was an otherwise well-respect career, to Galarraga, who looked past his loss of a perfect game and a place in MLB history, to recognize Joyce's pain.

Grace is something, especially for many of our elected, political, and business leaders, that is in short supply today.   

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1 comment

Steve L said...

Humility is still present in a few. Too few. Great story!

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