brewers baseball and things

umpire constellation perfection


Some swear they’ve seen perfection in clouds along the sunset horizon slowly turning orange and purple. Others have heard it in Robert Plant screaming “I got a woman, stay drunk all the time.” I felt it many moons ago when Robin Yount flew across Memorial Stadium April 1987 air and snagged Eddie Murray’s fly ball, preserving the Juan Nieves no-hitter, only one in Milwaukee Brewer’s history, but it wasn’t perfect.

Perfect is both an adjective and a verb. In baseball, it describes a game, a perfect game, but to be perfect like Dennis Martinez you have to perfect what’s typically not perfect, a regular game, so it’s kind of an adjective and a verb. It inspires fans of both sides to surrender their allegiances.

A perfect game in baseball has been real 23 times, 24 if we include Harvey Haddix’s 12 perfect innings that ended in a base runner in the lucky 13th inning, 25 if we include Armando Galarraga’s perfecto that got flubbed by Jim Joyce on the 27th out. Joyce apologized after the game and Armando aptly said, “That’s ok, no one’s perfect.”

So umpire mess ups and tie scores aside, there’s only been 23 perfect games…..only 23, only 23 times have there been 27 consecutive outs made by a pitcher and his defense. The lights went out. The stadium emptied. People walked home or to bars and had perfection on their mind and breath. They stashed their stubs in a safe place.

Dallas Braden and Phil Humbert provoke a scratch of the head and so does Randy Johnson going perfect at 40 years old. Who even pitches at 40! The Tampa Bay Rays have been on the losing end of three of them. Two were in the pre-1900 years which interestingly happened within a week of each other, the first one on June 12, 1880 and the second one five days later. The timing is almost as wonderful as the name of the very first umpire who called it – Foghorn Bradley!

Speaking of umpires, there is only one umpire who has been a part of three perfect games and he was calling balls and strikes in two of them!

Ted Barrett.

Barrett called David Cone’s in June, 1999 and followed it up with Matt Cain’s in July, 2012.

I’ve never paid too much attention to umpires, however, I have heard horror stories about Angel Hernandez and I did read Ron Luciano’s Umpire Strikes Back and I know once upon a time National League and American League Umpires were separated, no inter-league action, wore different colored sport jackets too I think. But Barrett calling two perfect games has me googling.

According to a study conducted by Boston University, Barrett ranked at the bottom of umpire accuracy between the years 2008-2018. Here’s the link to that study –

I don’t know what it all means in terms of his calling perfection, especially because the study was completed after Cone’s perfecto. But if he did lack accuracy, maybe it spurred on the perfection? Maybe he got into the minds of hitters and had them swinging at bad pitches? Maybe I’ll watch the games in their entirety, thanks to you tube!

The only things I know for sure, for now, are that Barrett used to be a sparring partner for boxing legends George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. That’s what it says in a New York Times article I found thanks to a google search. And then there’s Wikipedia sharing that Barrett has a masters degree in Biblical Studies and that he wrote a thesis called “An Investigation of Faith as a Life Principle in the Lives of Major League Umpires.” And oh yeh, he is also an ordained minister.

Maybe him studying the bible, being a minister, and writing a thesis about faith and being an umpire; maybe him sparring with George Foreman, maybe none of this has to do with him calling two perfect games or maybe it does? This is the kind of question that results in heavy drinking or going to church. I can’t do either right now. I have dinner to make and it’s only sardines and pasta, but perfect enough for tonight.


Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

6 thoughts on “umpire constellation perfection

  1. May the joys of the season be given to you in a width and expanse approximating Eric Gregg’s strike zone.

    • Big Christmas and New Years greeting to you too W.k. I always look forward to your poems and cherish your comments here on this blog.

      I took a gander at Gregg’s wiki page and see that he was behind the plate for Livan Hernandez’s 15 k performance in game 5 of the 1997 NLCS. If I can find it on you tube, tis the season to check it out.

  2. I looked up the song, Steve. First, I pounded those lyrics onto Goo Goo, because a lot of times, the name of the song isn’t the same as what you would think it is. It’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do” by Led Zeppelin, with Robert “Rubber” Plant singing it. Actually, he screams the NEXT line, “I got a woman who can’t be true”, even louder than the preceding line, Steve.

    I remember when I called the request line on WHN, which was a country station in New York City, in 1981 or so, and asked, “Could you play that song by that guy that goes “That Woman That I Just Had Around My Finger Just Come Unwound”. (Bad grammar is the singer’s, not mine.) The disc jockey replied, “Oh, you must mean George Straight (George Strait was so new back then that I had never even heard of the guy. It WAS his first hit record; I think it even hit #1 on its first try. Well at least it made the Top Ten, I think. “Oh, you must mean
    George Straight and “Unwound”. “Unwound”????? Well, I was surprised, because titles of country songs weren’t particularly hard to figure out the title by listening to the song. “Unwound” was a concise name for a country song, and I would’ve never guessed it.

    Anyway, I listened to the song, and Plant actually never sings the name of the song at all. Interesting, but cool.

    Really, the only Led Zepppelin song that I like (and I LOVE it) is the one that’s appropriately called “Rock N’ Roll”.

    As far as the umpire thing, I read about that guy who you mentioned was jipped out of a Perfect Game by a bad call at first base, and that pitcher had a lot of class, class that you don’t hear much in the big leagues these days because the majors are filled with so many whining prima donnas (I probably spelled that wrong) by James Joyce (who should stick to writing stories and poems and stuff and stay out of umpiring.) “Joyce apologized after the game and Armando aptly said, “That’s ok, no one’s perfect.” Classy guy, that Armando Gallaraga. I’d want him on MY team, for sure. The Anti-Roger Clemens.

    By the way, here’s the song by George Strait (not “Straight”, like I had thought), singing “Unwound”. Incredible how he’s already in the so-called “Country Music Hall of Fame”.

    • Thanks for my continued schooling in country music. I kind of like the George Straight tune. It’s amazing how widespread the violin is, fits into so many genres of music. I agree with you Glen about Armando Galarraga and his classy reaction to the Joyce’s missed call. And that’s funny what you said about Joyce should stick to writing stories!!

  3. “Rock N’ Roll” by that FAB new singing group, The Lead Zeppelins, here on “Top of the Pops.” One of my favorite “Rock N’ Roll” songs. I can listen to it over and over!

    • Hey Glen, glad to have you here commenting again. “Been a long time!” If this song doesn’t turn one into the Muppet’s drummer, than it’s time to stand under a lighting bolt.

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