A College Law Class Is Trying to Get MLB to Recognize Armando Galarraga’s 2010 Perfect Game for Detroit Tigers

Monmouth University law students are making the case for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to add Galarraga’s gem to the perfect game list

Armando Galarraga talks to the press after losing his perfect game in 2010. A law class is pressuring the MLB to award the pitcher a perfect game.
Armando Galarraga talks to the press after losing his 2010 perfect game.
Bill Eisner/Detroit Tigers/Getty

Out of more than 200,000 Major League Baseball games that have been played over approximately 150 years of pro baseball, only 23 have been officially recognized as being perfect. Armando Galarraga threw what should be the 24th for the Tigers against the Cleveland Indians on June 2, 2010, in Detroit, but umpire Jim Joyce inexplicably called Jason Donald safe at first base on what would have been the last out of the game.

It didn’t change what had happened, but Joyce owned up to his mistake immediately upon seeing a replay and famously said he “kicked the shit out of that call” and that he was sick over taking a perfect game away from “that kid over there.” 

In order to help fix the wrong that was committed that day in Detroit, a group of New Jersey law students is now making the case that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should use his power to add Galarraga’s gem to the list of perfect games, according to The Athletic.

Led by professor Lawrence Jones, the Law and Society class at Monmouth University created an 80-page report with examples, precedents and legal rhetoric arguing Galarraga’s case and mailed it to Manfred. “There were multiple reasons why I thought this would be an outstanding, excellent, thought-provoking exercise for the students in terms of studying law and society, in terms of studying the spirit of rules, the interpretation of rules, when results are equitable versus non-equitable, and how not only courts but anyone in positions of authority have to generally have reasonable discretion to accomplish the right result,” Jones said. “To me, the Galarraga case was a classic educational example for students, and they really, really immersed themselves in it and enjoyed it.”

Part of the reason the students found arguing Galarraga’s case so enjoyable was that Jones arranged for the former pitcher to speak to the class via a video call. “It’s amazing, what they’ve done,” he told the Asbury Park Press. “I’m floored. It’s a great job by them. They saw something not right and they want to prove a point. I think that’s good. That’s what leads to progress.”

When the blown call “celebrated” its 10th anniversary, Galarraga expressed hope MLB would one day recognize him with a perfect game. He later reversed that stance and wrote on his website, “It would be very selfish to try to change the play when errors have also happened in other important games.”

Perhaps he feels differently now after his involvement with the students at Monmouth University and hearing the legal reasons why his 26-out masterpiece should finally be recognized as a perfect 27-out gem.

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