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Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History Hardcover – May 16, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Nobody's Perfect

“Captivating … [It reads] like a great summer novel.” —Mark Newman,

“The reason that there are only twenty perfect games in the history of baseball is that everything has to go right and everyone has to be perfect for that day to happen. In Nobody’s Perfect, Armando Galarraga, a young pitcher looking for his place in history, and Jim Joyce, arguably the finest umpire of his time, show us why. With the skilled Dan Paisner, they reveal major league baseball at its core, the day to day struggles of a young pitcher and the grind of umpiring in the major leagues. If you are a baseball fan, I dare you to name all twenty days of perfection. But after reading Nobody’s Perfect, you will never forget this game or these two men.”—Ron Darling

“You might think everything that could have been said, replayed and revealed about that night has already been uttered, logged and exposed. You would, however, be as wrong as the unfortunate Mr. Joyce.”—Neal Rubin, The Detroit News

“Inspiring.”—Spitball Magazine

About the Author

Armando Galarraga is a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He finished third in balloting for American League Rookie of the Year in 2008.

Jim Joyce has been an umpire in the major leagues for more than twenty years.

Daniel Paisner is a New York Times best-selling writer and collaborator on dozens of books, including On the Line with tennis great Serena Williams. He is also the author of The Ball: Mark McGwire’s 70th Home Run Ball and the Marketing of the American Dream.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (June 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802119883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802119889
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on May 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a quick read. The text is 242 pages long and I read it in two sittings. The chapters rotate between the careers of both Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce. The majority of the book tells us about the careers of both individuals as one reaches the major leagues after being shuffled from one organization to another while the umpire reaches the point of nearly giving up on his dream to reach the major leagues. However, a change in the supervisor of American League umpires from Dick Butler to Marty Springstead convinced Jim Joyce to continue. Joyce relates a story of a game he was umpiring in the minor leagues regarding a lesson he has taught others to follow in whatever line of work they may be in namely to give your best effort as if the boss is always watching you. That philosophy brought him to the major leagues.

Of course the book gets especially interesting from the time of the 9th inning of the almost perfect game along with the post game coverage in addition to the events that followed. The fact that this game was so unique makes this a special book. An umpire who readily admitted he blew the most important call of his career and a pitcher whose gentlemanly dignity caused him to rise above his misfortune. Being a fan of the Detroit Tigers made this a special game for me to watch and now read about. Needless to say you need not be a fan of the Tigers to enjoy this book. There are lessons for all of us to learn here as well.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DB361 on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book does a fine job of introducing the real Galarraga and Joyce. Though from vastly different backgrounds, they have much in common: both had to fight their way to the top of baseball; both are genuinely humble and appreciative of what they have achieved; both have, after this strange interlude, survived with careers and dignity intact, at least partially due to the grace that each has extended to the other.

The book alternates chapters between the pitcher's and ump's point of view: from stories of their childhoods, the path to the big leagues and, of course, the events of the fateful day. Each voice is well-captured, and readers will be glad to have met both. It is good for baseball lore to have books like this: the inside accounts of historic games and plays. Put this one on the shelf next to those few other baseball books that show the human and best side of the participants.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Page W. Brousseau on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows the story of "The Game" but to read the stories of the two main men involved was very worthwhile and adds to the greatness of the game.

This is a perfect book on sportsmanship and humility. This isn't a heavy read, but a fun quick one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
One of the highlights of the 2010 Major League season was something that didn't happen.

Armando Galarraga, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, did not get his perfect game --- a no-hit, no-run effort in which no opposing player gets on base via a walk, error, or any other means. There have only been 20 in the history of the national pastime, so it's obviously something special.

Pitchers have no-hitters broken up all the time, but Galarraga was flawless in his June 10th start against the Cleveland Indians. With two out in the ninth inning, Jason Donald --- the last man standing in the way of perfection --- hit a ground ball that first baseman Miguel Cabrera, in his enthusiasm, ranged perhaps a bit too far to field. He threw to Galarraga, who had run to cover first and was there in plenty of time to get the runner out.

Game over! The fans went wild, the broadcasters started heaping their praise...

But wait. Jim Joyce --- an umpire with more than 20 years of experience --- called the runner safe? Replays clearly showed that Donald was out, but there was no recourse, no mechanism to reverse the call. There was no tirade or cursing from Galarraga (perhaps the only one to react so calmly). He could only offer a little grin in disbelief before retiring the next batter to settle for the one-hitter.

Pundits --- both sports-related and not --- suggested if ever there was a time for baseball commissioner Bud Selig to overrule an outcome, this would be it. The play absolutely would have ended the game. Galarraga deserved it. No one would complain about setting precedents (well, some might, but the good outweighed the bad here).

It was Galarraga's reaction --- that beatific smile --- that could be seen as the genesis for NOBODY'S PERFECT.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mauewowie on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book on a whim, not expecting it to be that great but wow was I wrong. I just wanted to know Jim Joyce's side of the story, I wanted to know how he could've missed a call that wasn't even close. What I got was a story of two men who would stop at nothing to reach their dreams of making it to the bigs, and an example of human error and forgiveness that led me to tears. A must read whether you are a baseball fan or not, a true tale of sportsmanship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen Decker on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very well written

I am a Detroit Tiger fan. Armando Galarraga was one of my favorite players. This book not only gives an insight of how both men felt after the serious error was made, but also tells the hardship that they both went through to get were they were at. This book also shows good sportmenshiip between the two men. Points out how rewarding it was for Armando to realize that nobody is perfect and to forgive, as well as it was for Jim Joyce to admit and face the mistake.

I think the night of this story will live on long after a lot of the other perrfect games will be moreless forgotten.

This is a great book for anyone to read regardless if they are a baseball fan or not. Helen Decker
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