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But what about...
The Reggie play is weird. If they call Reggie out for interference I think it is still on this list because Russell probably should have been called for intentionally dropping the ball.
I've never seen that Helton play. He was called out?
5. Mauer's foul ball: 2009 ALDS Game 2 --- Yankees 4, Twins 3
4. Reggie's hip check: 1978 World Series Game 4 -- Yankees 4, Dodgers 3
3. Black Friday: 1977 NLCS Game 3 -- Dodgers 6, Phillies 5
1. The Jeffrey Maier affair: 1996 ALCS Game 1 -- Yankees 5, Orioles 4
the immediate reaction was something resembling horror -- it seemed impossibly obvious that Lugo was out. The throw beat him by six feet, at least. McKenry was so sure that he made the tag that he was looking to see if a double play was still possible. Lugo was so sure that that he was tagged that he hardly seemed interested in touching home plate. The crowd noise -- at least what you can pick up on video -- was the sound of deflation. Everything so vividly pointed to out that the safe call was as shocking as, say, someone shooting and killing Rambo or Dirty Harry 15 minutes into the movie. People were not thinking: "My, the umpire appears to have missed that call." They were thinking: "What a minute … am I going crazy? What happens now?"
I refuse to believe that the first 100 years of Major League Baseball didn't feature a call worse than these five.
Here are what I rate as the five worst calls ever and what went wrong, as those calls perhaps changed the course of baseball history.
What was Luzinski still doing in left field in the 9th inning of a 2-run game?
If you notice, all 5 are post-season games. None of the pictures depict such important games, while the 5 calls listed (in the writer's mind) affected who ultimately played in or won the World Series..
You know this almost paid off. He was up 3rd in the bottom of the 9th and reached on a HBP
There was a onetime famous play in Game One of the 1948 World Series, where the Indians appeared to have picked the Braves' Phil Masi off second - and replays confirmed it
The Pieryznski dropped-third strike led to the White Sox winning Game 2 of the ALCS when they went on to win the World Series. And the Hrbek play was in the 1991 WS, one of the tightest WS ever.
Edit: Ok, wow, I was confused. I could have sworn that was the Twins vs. Cards in 1987.
The worst call I know of (setting aside the importance of the game) was Harry Wendelstedt's refusal to award Dick Dietz first base after Drysdale hit him with a pitch with the bases loaded. This was in 1968 and Drysdale was 48 innings into his scoreless innings streak. The game was in Dodgers Stadium, and Wendelstedt, unforgiveably, let the streak affect his call.
Wendelstedt said later that Dietz hadn't made enough effort to avoid the pitch, but (a) this was Don Freakin' Drysdale, who hit batters all the time; (b) that call was never made (though I've seen it a few times since); and (c) players of that era like Ron Hunt notoriously stepped into pitches all the time in order to get on base (not that Dietz did that, just that the hypocrisy of Wendelstedt's explanation was so glaring).
The Orioles won Game Two of the series when the Oriole scored three runs off of Jeff Nelson, who was pitching in the seventh and eighth -- which was normally when Mariano Rivera pitched. But Rivera threw 44 pitches in Game One, after coming in in the 10th, and was unavailable for Game Two.
If Jeter's ball is called an out, the Yankees win Game Two, the O's lose in 5.
This line of reasoning is better than the assumption that if the Orioles had won Game One, they would have still won Game Two and not lost all three games at home, because if the rest of the series had played out the same (since we're assuming Game Two plays out the same in favor of Baltimore), the O's go back to Yankee Stadium down 3-2 in the series.
Joaquin Andujar, relief pitcher. Now that was a bad call, Whitey.
*Photographs* confirmed it.
The aftermath: The Yankees eventually won the series in five games and went on to capture their first of four World Series championships in a five-year span. But what would have happened if Garcia had made the correct call? The Orioles would have won the game and, after winning Game 2, would have held a 2-0 series advantage. The Yankees likely would lose the series, George Steinbrenner probably would fire Joe Torre, Benitez and not Mariano Rivera would turn into the greatest closer of all time and the whole Yankees dynasty never would materialize. Wow. As Andy Pettitte says in the video link above, "You gotta have luck."
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