A photo of Clint Barmes (with the ball on the turf beside him) posted to a Denver Post fan page by reader Craig Welling.
A photo of Clint Barmes (with the ball on the turf beside him) posted to a Denver Post fan page by reader Craig Welling.

The seven worst blown calls in baseball history

Clint Barmes' astonishing grab, which helped the Rockies preserve a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, turns out to have been neither astonishing nor a grab, as assorted photos that have been popping up in the past day or so prove. Clearly, the umpires missed Barmes' bobble -- but it's too early to categorize the gaffe as an all-timer. At this point, the Rockies aren't even assured of a playoff berth, what with the Atlanta Braves just two games back in the wild-card standings. If the Rocks make it by one game, however, this slight of hand has a chance to join seven of Major League Baseball's other classic blown calls assembled by USA Today last year. And the Rockies already claim one of the positions. Here's the roster:

Oct. 1, 2007, NL wild-card tie-breaker: Did Matt Holliday actually touch the plate while sliding in to win a key contest against the San Diego Padres in the thirteenth inning? Some true-believing Rockies fans say "yes." Other true-believing Rockies fans say "no." And all true-believing Rockies fans think it's pretty damn funny the way things worked out.

Oct. 12, 2005 ALCS Game 2: A.J. Pierzynski was allowed to take first base after a third strike bounced out of catcher Josh Paul's glove. But since the umpire had already rung up Pierzynski, he should have been out, right? Not according to White Sox lovers, who were able to celebrate a few minutes later when a pinch runner put in for Pierzynski scored the winning run.

Oct. 9, 1996, ALCS Game 1: A Derek Jeter fly ball was transformed into a home run thanks to fan interference, as well as a bunch of officials who apparently hadn't been to Lens Crafters in a long, long time.

Oct. 20, 1991 World Series Game 2: Minnesota Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek helped Ron Gant's leg off the bag while tagging him out -- and the umpire let it stand, later claiming that the real villain was "momentum." Which Hrbek gave a hand.

Oct. 26, 1985, World Series, Game 6: Kansas City's Jorge Orta safely arrived at first base in the mind of umpire Don Denkinger and almost no one else -- a ruling that helped the Royals claim a 2-1 win.

Oct. 14, 1975, World Series Game 3: Cincinnati's Ed Armbrister bunted, then cleverly caused Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk to make an errant throw by interfering with him in a way that the umpire saw as no interference at all. If the Red Sox hadn't won two World Series titles in recent years, they'd still be bitching about this.

Sept. 23, 1908: The Giants would have beaten the Cubs 2-1 had Fred Merkle actually managed to touch second on his trip around the bases. He didn't, causing the game to be ruled a tie -- and the Cubs won the makeup contest en route to their last World Series victory. This sequence of events qualifies as the list topper because of its nickname: Merkle's boner. Bet Mrs. Merkle wasn't amused.

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