On June 2, Major League Baseball pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from pitching the first perfect game in Detroit Tigers history. In 135 years of MLB there have been only 20 perfect games thrown – fewer than people that have orbited the moon. Its the feat of a lifetime for a pitcher.

The 27th and would-be-final batter hit a routine ground ball which was fielded and thrown to first in time to get the runner out. However, the umpire incorrectly called the play safe, single-handedly stealing the perfect game from Galarraga. The New York Times called it “easily the most egregious blown call in baseball over the last 25 years”. The Tigers’ manager and many players were understandably upset and immediately began arguing the call in defense of their teammate. Anyone who’s played competitive sports knows how upsetting it can be when umpires or referees make a bad call, and this was the worst of calls on the largest stage.

Galarraga must have gone crazy right? Nope. He offered a sheepish smile, collected himself, and calmly retired the next batter to end the game. Because of the the way he conducted himself in recording the first ever “28-out perfect game”, he will be remembered more in the hearts of many than if the umpire had made the correct call. Asked about it after the game he said “I got a perfect game. Maybe it’s not in the book, but I’m going to show my son someday.” Asked about the umpire, he said “nobody is perfect… Inside of my heart, I don’t have any problem.”

Quite the contrast from the actions we’ve been seeing from other pro athletes recently.

Its worth mentioning that the umpire involved, Jim Joyce, also handled it well. He immediately owned up to his mistake after seeing the replay, and was very apologetic to Galarraga. The next day at Comerica Park the two would shake hands as Tigers fans stood in recognition of the great sportsmanship on display. Joyce wiped tears from his eyes when the crowd serenaded him onto the stadium field with applause in a sympathetic show of forgiveness and understanding.

I just wanted to give props to both and say thanks for being good examples. I’m going to try to do the same going forward when in similar situations.