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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."
My favorite is the 1970 World Series call at the plate. It's famous as the play everyone got wrong. The runner missed the plate when he slid. The catcher tagged the runner with his glove while he held the ball in the bare hand. And the umpire was up the line and literally had his back to the plate at the time. That didn't stop him from making a call anyone - he called runner Bernie Carbo out.
That wins my vote for worst call. It wasn't just blowing a call or missing something - he was completely out of position and should never have made the call - yet he did it anyway.
Question - can anyone think of an example where a really horrible call in a critical postseason game clearly DID help one team win a game they shouldn't have - particularly in a game 6 - yet the team that got screwed by the call went on to win Game 7 anyways to render the call moot?
But it was a proper call. The rule doesn't say "unless nobody ever calls it". Just because everyone else was making the wrong call doesn't make this call wrong.
The Maier call should be ranked higher.
Given that a large majority of the commentary I've heard on the Pieryznski call say the ump got it right, I don't see how that makes the list.
It doesn't work like that.
The way I see it, assuming Dietz just stood there, is that it's like the phantom double play. If the standard is to call the runner out at second, even though the SS doesn't touch the bag, then a single umpire can't just arbitrarily call a runner safe because of the game situation. That corrupts the game.
So you're one of those people who thinks the Angels got screwed by the correct call being made in 2009, too?
Many believe (ignorantly) that Josh Paul still should have tagged him regardless, even though Josh Paul and everyone who has ever caught high quality pitching knows Paul did nothing wrong.
More interesting was that after the batter belly-flopped, if McKenry had thrown to first, the run might well have been erased. But, no, he pulled a Knoblauch.
RE: The Denkinger call - to this day Whitey still insists that call cost him the Series. But Whitey, Don didn't: miss easy popups, allow passed balls, groove pitches or tank Game 7. Your boys did that. How people react to misfortune is as much a part of the tale as the misfortune itself.
Garcia, with the benefit of replay, has said the "correct call" would have been ground rule double since Tarrasco wouldn't have caught the ball. Since he's a professional umpire, who can argue.
At the time, someone made the point that Pierzynski knew Eddings' verbalization patterns because he'd been in the whole game, but Pope Josh Paul didn't because he had just entered the game. All Paul knew was he caught the ball.
Post number 58 is the best post in the thread, nay, its the single greatest example of sportswriting in all history.
It's rare as a parent to have a convienent embodyment of sneer, of entitlement, of win-at-all-costs, of self-promotion - a paragon of bad values to point to as everything we don't want our children to grow up to be.
No, you're right, the only logical thing to believe is that everything that worked out for the Orioles would play out exactly the same way (even though it would be completely illogical for Rivera to not pitch in Game Two), and the stuff that worked out for the Yankees (the other three games of the series) would *not* work out the same way. That that one bad call not only cost them that one game, but somehow cost them four games. And, of course, it's completely unreasonable to believe that Mariano Rivera wouldn't have given up Game Two. I mean, who the #### was that guy? He certainly wasn't as good as we thought he was in 1996.
You'll note I didn't say any of that.
Yet his post stating that one can't make assumptions about how the rest of a series would have played out
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