Jim Joyce has been a Major League umpire since 1987, having umped thousands of games.
And yet, if you remember him at all, it’s for just one game. One play, really.
Joyce, who is now retiring after a long and decorated career, is best remembered for missing a call at the end of what would have been a 2010 perfect game for journeyman righty Armando Galarraga:
Joyce later expressed his regret at the call, which he knew he missed, in a tearful apology after the game. For his part, Galarraga harbors no ill-will, and, arguably, he’s now better remembered in baseball history than he would have been if he’d completed the perfect game.
Joyce will always be tied to the play, even if he will be remembered by players and managers as a fair, judicious umpire much more generally.