In a recent poll conducted by ESPN The Magazine, Major League Baseball players voted Jim Joyce the best big league umpire. The poll was taken in the wake of Joyce's controversial call of June 2. After Joyce, umpiring at first base, called the Indians' Jason Donald safe on his infield grounder with two outs in the ninth to deny Detroit right-hander Armando Galarraga of a perfect game, numerous on-field voices sympathetically called Joyce the best umpire in baseball. To put a somewhat formal spin on that rating, ESPN contacted 50 players in each league for their confidential choice.
Of the 100 players, 53 percent chose Joyce as the top arbiter. Tim McClelland was runner-up with 34 percent. In the same poll, CB Bucknor was selected as the poorest umpire. The players were also questioned on whether Commissioner Bud Selig should have overturned Joyce's call, which the umpire had quickly conceded had been erroneous, and if MLB should expand the use of instant replay to include close calls on the bases. Eighty-six percent approved of the Commissioner's decision to not overrule Joyce, and 77 percent were against the use of instant replay for calls on the bases.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.