I know there have been a countless number of articles on this topic, but today’s is for good reason. In honor of what would have been Roy Halladay’s 43rd birthday today, let’s stay positive. A man who passed away tragically on November 7, 2017 was a workhorse. His work ethic was beyond extraordinary, leading by example for both teams he played for. In countless stories from former teammates and coaches, Roy would arrive at the facility and workout at 5 a.m., hours before the team had to report for a night game. Some pitches trained to pitch, some trained to win, and some trained to dominate. Roy Halladay did just that.
Throughout his career, Halladay pitched for both the Toronto Blue Jays, and obviously the Philadelphia Phillies. The eight-time All-Star accumulated two Cy Young Awards in his 16 seasons in the pros. Roy may have come short of a World Series ring, but he will go down as one of the best pitchers of his era, and perhaps the hardest working of All-time. His career 3.38 does not truly represent his value to the Blue Jays and Phillies- but his 65.4 career WAR does (led the league for four seasons in WAR as well).
All these numbers aside, Roy has an insane highlight reel. It’s nearly impossible to write about his career in one article, but let’s narrow down his top five moments.
#5- September 6, 2003
10 Innings, only 99 pitches
One aspect of Halladay’s game that put him above the rest was his durability. Roy kept his pitches minimal, allowing him to go deep into games often. He led the league in innings pitched four times in his career (2002, 2003, 2008, 2010). One big contribution to his remarkable 2003 season was when he pitched a 10 inning, complete-game shutout against the Tigers. This signified what was to come for the right-hander.
#4- April 5, 2010
First start with Philadelphia
It didn’t take long for Roy to show what was to come for his remarkable 2010 season. In his first start with the Phillies, Roy was unstoppable. Despite allowing six hits, he struck out nine batters en route to only allowing one run. This may not have been the best start of Roy’s career, but it showed the rest of the league what was about to hit them.
#3- Sept. 27, 2010
Roy clinches first post-season appearance
Despite a stellar career with the Blue Jays, they had failed to see the postseason in Roy’s 12 seasons with them. Once he was signed with Philadelphia, it didn’t take long for him to leave his mark. Halladay was battling for his second Cy Young award, and this game helped him secure that title. Halladay would shutout the Nationals in his final start of the season, pitching all nine innings and only allowing two hits, while only throwing 97 pitches. It also gave Roy his league-leading 21st victory that season as the Phillies clinched.
#2- October 6, 2010
Postseason no hitter
In front of a crowd of 46,411, Roy Halladay did not disappoint. The game only took 2 hours and 34 minutes, all because of Roy. In a mere 104 pitches, Halladay would go on to strike out eight Reds, not allowing a hit. This would make the second no-hitter in postseason history, putting Halladay in the record books.
#1- May 29, 2010
In a cool May night in Florida, Roy Halladay did what every pitcher strives for each time they touch the mound:
Throw a perfect game.
Halladay would make the most out of the lone run the Phillies would score that night. Striking out 11 batters, he would not allow any base runner at all throughout the entire game, leaving him perfect. He would again be put into the history books, as he was the 19th perfect game in history at the time, and amongst 23 of all time. It’s tough to put this ahead of the postseason no-hitter, but being perfect, yet imperfect, describe Halladay better than anyone could ever know.
Bonus- July 21, 2019
Official induction into the Hall of Fame
After tragically passing away in 2017, the MLB did the right thing and honored Halladay and his family by putting him into the Hall of Fame. After his stellar career, it was inevitable that he would make it to Cooperstown. His family received the award in his honor, not putting a team logo to tip their hats to both Toronto and Philly’s organizations for Roy’s career. Brandy Halladay would deliver an emotional speech on Roy’s behalf, leaving the baseball world speechless.
Roy may not have been a perfect individual, none of us are by any means. But, he was perfect in baseball and beloved by many. Make sure to tune into the ESPN 30 for 30 on May 29th, the 10th anniversary of his perfect game.
Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Avid Philly fan and future educator
Student at Stockton University