Thursday, October 7, 2010
Back on March 30 of this year, as a part of my Countdown to Opening Day series of baseball lists, I discussed one of the rarest, most difficult feats of pitching prowess there is to accomplish in Major League Baseball: to have pitched, during the course of one's career, both a Perfect Game and at least one other No-Hitter. It is so rare and difficult that it had only been done by six pitchers: Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Mark Buehrle.
I did not expect that post to become obsolete so quickly, but there is now a need to add a seventh name to that list. Last night, in the opening game of the National League Divisional Playoff Series, Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw a No-Hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, leading the Phils to a 4-0 victory and a 1 game to 0 lead in the best-of-five series.
On May 30, just two months after I posted that particular piece, Halladay took the mound against the Florida Marlins and retired 27 batters in a row to notch a Perfect Game. Last night, he not only joined an extremely elite group of pitchers by accomplishing the incredible, he did it not simply within a career but within the same season - something no other pitcher on that short list had done! He also became only the second pitcher in history to throw a No-Hitter in a post-season game (the other being Don Larsen, who threw a Perfect Game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers).
In fact, Halladay came within a hair's breadth of actually throwing a second Perfect Game last night! The only mar on the performance was a fifth-inning walk of Jay Bruce - other than that, Halladay was perfect.
There would have been only one more thing I wish could have been in order to make the game perfect: if only the great Harry Kalas were still with us to have called it. TBS's announcers are as bland as dry toast, and when they had the chance to speak to Halladay immediately after the game, the interviewer's take on it was, "Well, that was an interesting way to start off a post-season." Um, how about "historic"? "Astounding"? "Incredible"? Nope, to TBS, it was simply "interesting." Kalas would have brought out all of the drama and emotion of the moment in a way this broadcast team could never even imagine.
But who am I to complain? I saw history last night, and the Phils are starting off their march back to the World Series with a bang! Congrats, Roy...and let's go Phillies!