Bruce Froemming, Thwarted Perfect Game, 1972
Losing a perfect-game bid is hard. Losing a perfect-game bid on the 27th batter is harder â€” even more so when it's lost on a questionable ball-four call. Milt Pappas of the Chicago Cubs was one out away from pitching perfection against the San Diego Padres when Larry Stahl came to bat. Pappas worked Stahl to a 1-2 count before throwing three straight balls and walking him. Home plate umpire Bruce Froemming took heat for the walk, as all three pitches were close to the strike zone.
It's interesting because Froemming, during his long career, oversaw 11 official no-hitters (Pappas' included), yet maintained he didn't realize a perfect game was on the line. Pappas, still incensed, cites Don Larsen's perfect game where umpire Babe Pinelli ended the game with a called third strike that seemed to many to be high and outside: "It's a home game in Wrigley Field. I'm pitching for the Chicago Cubs. The score is 8-0 in favor of the Cubs. What does he have to lose by not calling the last pitch a strike to call a perfect game?"