Detroit Tigers – Five Players Who Turned Into Pumpkins
Armando Galarraga will forever be known for that fateful night in June 2010 when he lost his perfect game on a blown call by first-base umpire Jim Joyce. But his subsequent forgiveness of Joyce, and the grace with which he handled the incident, arguably helped Galarraga achieve a greater level of notoriety than he would have from the perfect game alone, because he otherwise had a very mediocre career.
But, back in 2008, Armando Galarraga was one of the few bright spots in a terrible Detroit Tigers season, and he looked like a future rotation stalwart. The club had traded for Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cabrera, and Dontrelle Willis, among others, but by the end of the season sports radio hosts were calling Cabrera a bust, saying Justin Verlander was another Jeremy Bonderman, and declaring Armando Galarraga the team’s real ace.
Galarraga did pitch well that season, compiling a 13-7 record with a 3.73 ERA over 178.2 innings, and his 4.0 bWAR was tied for the 5th highest for any Tigers pitcher in the decade. But Galarraga’s underlying stats, including a .236 BABIP and a 4.88 FIP, suggested he was extremely lucky in 2008.
And sure enough, he turned into a pumpkin. Galarraga posted a 5.64 ERA in 2009 , began 2010 back in Toledo, and in 2011 Detroit traded him for two minor-league pitchers. He threw just 66.2 more innings at the MLB level, and by 2015 he was out of baseball.