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MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31016740 Don Denkinger, Oct. 26, 1985 Don+Denkinger%2C+Oct.+26%2C+1985 MLB

Umpire Don Denkinger made what is considered the mother of all bad calls as St. Cardinals pitcher Todd Worrell, right, stretched out to catch the ball as Kansas City Royals batter Jorge Orta stepped on the bag during the ninth inning in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series in Kansas City. While Orta was clearly out, Denkinger ruled the runner safe and the Royals went on to win the game and eventually the World Series.

The Kansas City Star, Patrick Sullivan - AP Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 30993284 Tim Welke, May 2, 2012 Tim+Welke%2C+May+2%2C+2012 MLB

First-base umpire Tim Welke made a horrendous call in the Dodgers-Rockies game. With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, LA Dodgers’ Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a chopper in between shortstop and third and Rockies 3B Chris Nelson made an diving stop, throwing the ball to Todd Helton at first. Helton was at least a foot and a half off of the bag but Welke called Hairston out, to the displeasure of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Even Helton knew it was a bad call. "Neighborhood?" the Rockies' 1B asked. "It wasn't in the same area code." Watch the play.

Doug Pensinger - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 22208074 Jim Joyce, June 2, 2010 Jim+Joyce%2C+June+2%2C+2010 MLB

Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from what would have been the season's third perfect game when umpire Jim Joyce made a horrible call, deeming the 27th batter safe at first base. (He admitted he was wrong immediately after the game.) While he could have been forgiven if he'd flipped his lid and argued the call, Galarraga instead paused, looked at Joyce and gave him a wry smile. In doing so, Galarraga taught the entire baseball-watching population a lesson in grace and sportsmanship and elevated what would have been a remarkable story to an unreal watercooler tale that continued into the next day, when the pitcher met the dejected umpire at home plate for a handshake felt round the world.

Paul Sancya - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31019073 MLB

Baltimore Orioles' right fielder Tony Tarasco stretches for the ball as young Yankee fan Jeff Maier deflects it during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in New York, in a Wednesday, Oct. 9, 1996 photo. The hit was ruled a home run tying the ballgame 4-4 in the eighth inning. Jeffrey Maier got to play on the field at Yankee Stadium nearly 10 years after he stole a home run for New York in the 1996 playoffs. Maier, one of 30 college players invited for predraft workouts Friday in front of Yankee scouts and trainers, was best known for reaching over the right field wall in Game 1 of the American League Championship series against Baltimore and stopping outfielder Tony Tarasco from catching Derek Jeter's long drive. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file

Mark Lennihan - AP Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31019076 MLB

Chuck Knoblauch Phantom Tag

Elise Amendola - AP Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31016759 MLB

Pitcher Kelvim Escobar #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim misses a tag on catcher A.J. Pierzynski #12 of the Chicago White Sox in Game Five of the American League Championship Series on October 16, 2005 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Escobar tagged Pierzynski with his glove but the ball was in his other hand. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Jed Jacobsohn - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31017398 MLB

Matt Holliday #5 of the Colorado Rockies dives home with the winning run on a base hit by Jamey Carroll as Michael Barrett #4 of the San Diego Padres tries to control the ball at Coors Field on October 1, 2007 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Padres 9-8 in 13 innings. (Photo by Doug Pensinger

Doug Pensinger - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31017401 MLB

Baseball umpire Joe Brinkman (right) collars American baseball player George Brett of the Kansas City Royals in an effort to break up a fight started when Brett was ruled out after using an improper bat during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, New York, New York, July 24, 1983. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Bruce Bennett Studios - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31026159 MLB

MIAMI, : Kenny Lofton (L) of the Atlanta Braves reacts to being called out by second base umpire Eric Gregg (C) after a tag by Florida Marlins Craig Counsell (R) in the third inning of game three of the National League Championship Series 10 October at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, FL. Gregg's call was overruled, and Lofton was safe at second. The Marlins are playing the game under protest.

AFP PHOTO/Roberto SCHMIDT - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 31026160 MLB

In this photo taken on Oct. 26, 1985, umpire Don Denkinger, left, looks on as St. Cardinals pitcher Todd Worrell, right, stretches out to catch the ball as Kansas City Royals batter Jorge Orta steps on the base during the ninth inning in Game 6 of baseball's World Series in Kansas City, Mo. Denkinger ruled Orta safe and the Royals went on to win the game and eventually the World Series.

The Kansas City Star, Patrick Sullivan - AP Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 21370038 Worst calls in the 2010 playoffs Worst+calls+in+the+2010+playoffs MLB

When surveying what's unfolded thus far in the 2010 postseason, you might not immediately think of Roy Halladay's brilliance or Rick Ankiel's redemption. Chances are, you'll think of the umpiring.

Needless to say, this is not a good thing. Umpires have a tough job, to be sure, but this October we've seen some galling examples of incompetence, and some of those might just wind up altering the already winding course to the championship.

So, in descending order of foul-smelling importance, Dayn Perry shares the worst of the worst.

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara -
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 20365000 Braves-Giants, Game 1, fourth inning, no outs Braves-Giants%2C+Game+1%2C+fourth+inning%2C+no+outs MLB

It should've been a nifty “strike 'em out, throw 'em out” combo for the Braves. Instead, nanoseconds after Pat Burrell whiffed, Giants catcher Buster Posey was called safe at second base and thus credited with his first career steal. The replays, however, show he was plainly out on Brooks Conrad's swipe tag. The rub: One out later, Cody Ross singled to left and Posey scored what would prove to be the game's only run. Posey's comments after the game? “I'm glad there's no instant replay.” Indeed, he — and the Giants — should be.

MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 21371034 Rangers-Yankees, Game 4, second inning, one out Rangers-Yankees%2C+Game+4%2C+second+inning%2C+one+out MLB

Jeffrey Maier ... calling Jeffery Maier! Haven't we seen this before? A Yankee gets a favorable right field home run call that shouldn't have been. Just as Nelson Cruz reached up to snag Robinson Cano's second-inning bomb, the Yankee fans clearly grab his glove in fair territory. Cano was awarded a home run, but the Rangers still rallied to crush the Yanks 10-3 to take a 3-1 series lead.

Al Bello/Getty Images -
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 20365001 Yankees-Twins, Game 2, seventh inning, one out Yankees-Twins%2C+Game+2%2C+seventh+inning%2C+one+out MLB

Twins starter Carl Pavano delivers a fastball to Lance Berkman, who takes it for an apparent — no, make that obvious — strike three. However, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt inexplicably calls it a ball. On the next pitch, Berkman doubles to deep left center. Posada scores from first, and the Yankees lead 3-2. It's a lead they'd never relinquish, and now the Twins are headed to the Bronx on the brink of elimination.

MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 20524027 Braves-Giants, Game 3, ninth inning, no outs Braves-Giants%2C+Game+3%2C+ninth+inning%2C+no+outs MLB

After a gut-wrenching top half of the ninth, the Braves had three outs to make something happen. Unfortunately, home plate ump Paul Emmel might not have given a fair shake to Jason Heyward, who led off the home half and represented the tying run. The patient Heyward watched five pitches go by him and, according to replay, only one was a strike. Instead of working a leadoff walk, Heyward was punched out on a fastball that was several inches off the plate. The Braves proceeded to go down in order and lose a critical Game 3.

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images
MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 20067295 Rays-Rangers, Game 2, fifth inning, one out Rays-Rangers%2C+Game+2%2C+fifth+inning%2C+one+out MLB

The replays suggest (strongly) that Michael Young's checked swing wasn't all that checked. So, instead of a swinging third strike, umps ruled it a ball. The next swing wasn't even a little bit checked — Young launched a three-run bomb that put the Rangers up 5-0 and probably buried the Rays for good. After this critical call, the Tropicana Field fans rained down chants of “Replay!” To be fair, though, the Rangers had a 2-0 lead and a 77 percent chance of winning the game even before Young's blast.

MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 20346053 Rays-Rangers, Game 1, first inning, one out Rays-Rangers%2C+Game+1%2C+first+inning%2C+one+out MLB

Carlos Pena's up with one out and the bases loaded. Rangers ace Cliff Lee is on the ropes in the first inning. The 2-1 pitch from Lee sails inside and appears to nick Pena on the hand. Pena — and later, manager Joe Maddon — insists that pitch hit him, but home plate umpire Tim Welke (perhaps because of a lack of theatrics on Pena's part) calls it a foul ball. Instead of forcing in a run and changing the complexion of the inning, Pena eventually struck out looking, then Lee retired Rocco Baldelli on three pitches to escape without surrendering a run. The Rangers, of course, went on to win the game 5-1.

MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 21371036 Rangers-Yankees, Game 6, fifth inning, one out Rangers-Yankees%2C+Game+6%2C+fifth+inning%2C+one+out MLB

Nick Swisher reacts to getting hit by a pitch, as does catcher Bengie Molina, but the umpires didn't see it the same way. The ball would get by Molina and go to the backstop, allowing Alex Rodriguez to score from third. The blown call gave the Yankees the early 1-0 lead in the most important game of the series for both teams.

MLB 49 43 Worst calls in the playoffs 20365002 Yankees-Twins, Game 1, ninth inning, two outs Yankees-Twins%2C+Game+1%2C+ninth+inning%2C+two+outs MLB

Yankee right fielder Greg Golson makes the game-ending, shoestring catch, but the umps — even after a brief committee meeting between Greg Gibson and Hunter Wendelstedt (remember him?) — ruled it was a trap. It wasn't. In fact, Golson snagged Delmon Young's bloop, and the game should've been over. Lucky for the men in blue (and the men in pinstripes), Mariano Rivera retired Jim Thome, who represented the tying run, and the Yanks took Game 1.

And now fans are left wondering — fearing — what could possibly be next. Chances are, it'll be something. -- Dayn Perry

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