It’s time to celebrate one of Roy Halladay’s most amazing achievements on the baseball field. On May 29, 2010, Halladay pitched the twentieth perfect game in Major League Baseball history. Halladay retired 27 Florida Marlins batters while striking out 11 of them on their home turf. At the time, Halladay, who had just turned 33, was in his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the first time since June 21, 1964, that a Phillie threw a perfect game. Jim Bunning did it at Shea Stadium against the Mets.
On November 7, Halladay died when his personal plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. He was 40 years old. In paying tribute to him, the Pasco County Sheriff said, “RIP Roy Doc Halladay, a true baseball great and a man with a generous hear. Our thoughts and prayers are with Roy and his family during this difficult time. We were blessed to have known him and consider him to be a member of our family. We are grateful for his love and support.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Many Philadelphia Sports Fans Missed the Perfect Game
Halladay’s perfect couldn’t have come at a worse time for Philadelphia sports fans. May 29, 2010, was the same day that the Philadelphia Flyers faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the first game of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. The game began an hour after Halladay’s first pitch. The Flyers lost the game 6-5.
MLB.com’s Chris Landers wrote in 2015 that Halladay had been “so ruthlessly efficient that he needed more than 12 pitches in an inning just twice, reaching only seven three-ball counts all night.” Halladay had told the website after the game, “I felt like [Ruiz] was calling a great game up until the fourth or fifth, and that point, I just felt like I’d let him take over. I’d just go out, see the glove and hit it.” While playing for Toronto in his second career start, Halladay missed a no hitter after losing two outs in the ninth.
2. Halladay’s Thunder Had Already Been Stolen by the Oakland A’s Dallas Braden
Bizarrely, Halladay’s perfect game came less than a month after Dallas Braden had done the same thing for the Oakland Athletics on May 9 against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the first time that two perfect games had been achieved not only in the same month, but in the same season. According to ESPN, it was the shortest time span between two perfect games since 1880.
That same ESPN report notes that on June 2 during the same season, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers pitched an 8 and 2/3’s perfect game. Umpire Jim Joyce made an incorrect call thus Galarraga only achieved a no-hitter. Joyce later admitted his mistake to which Galarraga replied, according to USA Today, “Nobody’s perfect.”
3. During the 2010 Post Season, Halladay Pitched a No-Hitter
The perfect game wasn’t Halladay’s only achievement that season. During the first game of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds, Halladay pitched a no-hitter. That made him only the second player to hit a no-hitter in the post season. Halladay followed Don Larsen from the 1956 New York Yankees who pitched a perfect game in the World Series. Though Halladay was the first player to pitcher a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season.
4. A Virtual Perfect Game Pitched by Halladay Won a Louisana Teacher $1 Milllion
A year after Halladay’s achievement on the field, the late pitcher helped a Louisiana high school teacher win $1 million from 2K Sports while playing as the Phillies pitcher. Forbes reported that the games giant was offering the prize to anyone who could pitch a perfect game on Major League Baseball 2k10. Halladay helped present the money to the winner, Brian Kingrey.
Kingrey, told Forbes, “It’s like the best day in your life. Not only winning a million dollars but also getting to sit here next to the guy I won the million dollars with.”
While Halladay said, “I think it’s pretty cool. It’s something as a kid that you would never really think about that when you start playing video games, you’d have a chance to do something like this. But it’s a great opportunity. There are a lot of good things that can come out of it. I’ve had the chance to meet two good people that have done it and it’s pretty cool. They’re hard working regular people that get a chance to do something pretty cool.”
5. Halladay Was Expected to be a First Ballot Hall of Famer in 2019
Halladay is expected to be a first ballot hall of famer in 2019 when he becomes eligible.