Roy Halladay was only a Phillie for four years, the last two of which saw him struggle with his health and battle through a painful back injury that ultimately robbed him of a fitting end to his Hall of Fame career. He was the best pitcher in baseball in 2010 and ‘11, and dominated the game the way no Phils pitcher had done since Steve Carlton’s prime.
Despite having only two productive years in a Phillies uniform, he is a franchise legend, one of the greatest players the team has ever had, and his number will be retired as a result. His death in a plane crash at just 40 years old was crushing, but the memories of his greatness live on.
On Episode 384 of Hittin’ Season, Todd Zolecki, author of the new biography Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay joined the show to talk about Halladay’s incredible life and career — the ups as well as the downs. He spoke with his wife Brandy, who opened up about the struggles Halladay faced toward the end of his career and, sadly, his life. Addiction to pain medication for his back, uncertainty about his future and where he fit in after baseball were all preludes to his premature death. But it’s also a wonderful retelling of a fascinating career between the white lines, both the start of his career in Toronto and the end of it in Philadelphia.
There’s no doubt 2010 was the finest season of Halladay’s career. He won his second Cy Young Award, his first in the National League, when he went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA with a league-best four shutouts and nine complete games. He also is one of only six pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the same season.
His first no-hitter in ‘10 was his perfect game against the Miami Marlins, at the time, just the 20th in big league history (23 have been thrown total). In 150 years of baseball, Halladay had become just the 20th person to throw a perfect game. Only one other Phillie, Jim Bunning, had managed the feat. For many, it is the iconic performance of Halladay’s career?
But what about his second no-hitter of 2010? In his first ever playoff game, after 12 years of waiting for the opportunity to pitch in October, Halladay threw a no-hitter against the best hitting team in the National League that season, the Cincinnati Reds. Were it not for a full count walk to Jay Bruce in the 5th inning, it would have been his second perfect game of the season.
Only two pitchers in the history of baseball have thrown a no-hitter in postseason play. Don Larsen and Roy Halladay. Halladay, in a Phillies uniform at Citizens Bank Park, did something only one other person in the history of the game had done.
So which was more iconic? For me, it has to be the postseason no-no. To do it on that stage, in his first ever playoff start, is a moment I will never forget. That the Phillies were not able to use that historic outing as a springboard for a third straight World Series appearance is supremely disappointing, but for one night, the center of the baseball universe was Philadelphia, and Halladay was the reason.
When you look back at the career of Roy Halladay, which memory leaps to mind first? Answer the poll below and if you enjoy the interview, please subscribe to the podcast, rate it five-stars on Apple Podcasts and leave a review!
What was Roy Halladay’s signature moment as a Phillie?
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Perfect Game vs. Miami
Postseason No-Hitter vs. Cincinnati