At first glance, the election of Roy Halladay to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday seems like a sentimental choice. His life was cut short at 40 when the plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the west coast of Florida on Nov. 17, 2017.
An autopsy showed Halladay had amphetamines, morphine and a sleep aid in his system when the plane crashed.
Sentiment goes out the window when reviewing Halladay’s career. His numbers justified election: 205 career victories, a postseason no-hitter, three 20-victory seasons and 67 complete games in an era where the relief pitcher has taken over closing out ballgames.
Here are some things to know about Halladay.
Two leagues, two awards: Halladay became the third of six major league pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, according to MLB.com. winning the American League version in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays and the National League seven years later with the Philadelphia Phillies. The others are Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Max Scherzer.
Postseason magic: Halladay appeared in only five postseason games and had a 3-2 record. However, his playoff debut on Oct. 6, 2010, was memorable and historic, as Halladay threw the second no-hit game in postseason history. Halladay blanked the Reds 4-0, retiring the first 14 batters he faced before walking Jay Bruce with two outs in the fifth inning.
It was the first -- and only -- no-hitter in postseason history since Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
Common bond: In addition to joining Larsen in postseason lore, Halladay matched Larsen’s perfect game effort with a gem of his own, also during the 2010 season. On May 27, 2010, in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, Halladay was perfect against the Florida Marlins, striking out 11 batters in a 1-0 victory.
Near no-hitter: Halladay came within one out of pitching a no-hitter in his second major league start. On Sept. 27, 1998 at Toronto’s SkyDome, Halladay did not allow a hit until Detroit Tigers pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson homered, according to Retrosheet. Halladay lost the no-hitter but locked up his first career victory, a 2-1 win against the Tigers, when he retired Frank Catalanotto on a line drive to shortstop.
Never beat them: The only team Halladay never defeated during his 16-year career was the team he finished his career with, the Philadelphia Phillies. In fact, he never started against the Phillies, even when he was with Toronto and the Blue Jays faced Philadelphia in interleague play, according to Bleacher Report.
Biggest save: Although not known for pitching in relief, Halladay helped pull off a big save in the Amazon rainforest.
Halladay and his friends were on a fishing trip when they encountered a man who had been attacked by an anaconda. Original reports exaggerated Halladay’s role in the rescue, and he set the record straight in a February 2012 interview with The Washington Times.
“I was not wrestling snakes. I was nowhere near snakes,” Halladay told the newspaper. “We were just driving back. We had been fishing all day and we were on the boat driving back and we happened to see a guy sitting on the shore line without clothes. We couldn’t talk to him. The guides had to talk to him. They were speaking Portuguese. He had been attacked by a snake and escaped, but it had ripped the engine off the boat and left all his stuff out in the middle of the river. So we picked up his stuff and drove him back to his tribe, I guess you would call it.”
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