The wait is phinally over Phillies Phans! Today should be a National Holiday but we all know that it is a Philadelphia Halladay! There are great pitchers in the majors, and then there is Roy Halladay. Doc is the Ace on a rotation full of Aces. He is the reigning National League Cy Young winner, unquestionably the best pitcher in all of baseball and he is an even better teammate. His amazing work ethic is a testament to the great pitcher he is today. Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in all of baseball and earns the #1 spot on our countdown.
The debate on which athlete we ultimately chose as our number 1 athlete was a very easy decision. After the 2009 season Doc wanted to come to Philadelphia because he wanted to phinally play for a winner. Due to Halladay’s years of service, he was able to block any trade. He not only accepted the trade but he gave the Phillies a discount on his extension. Immediately after he was traded, he signed a 3-year $60 million extension. Last season we all had very high expectations for Doc and somehow he more than lived up to them. In today’s era of baseball, most pitchers would be happy pitching a solid 7 innings, and then letting the bullpen close out the game. Not Doc, every time he steps on the mound he intends to finish what he started. Last season he led the majors in Complete Games with 9. There were games during the season that Charlie went out to the mound when Doc was in trouble and Charlie would always return to the dugout by himself. In his first season with the team, he went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA! This was good enough for him to easily win the 2010 National League Cy Young Award.
May 29th started off just like any other start for Roy Halladay.The Phillies were in Florida facing the Marlins and Doc was opposed by their Ace Josh Johnson. The Flyers were playing in the Stanley Cup Finals on that night and this left many Phans with the difficulty of watching both games at once. Great players seem to be at their best when they are facing a challenge and Doc proved this on that night. The first batter he faced that night went to a full count. The 3rd strike was close and the batter thought he was headed to first. The rest of the game was, well “Perfect” for Doc. He faced 27 batters and all 27 batters walked back to the dugout. He became just the 2nd Phillie to throw a Perfect Game and it was the first since Jim Bunning’s at Shea in 1964.
After the game Doc showed how humble he was and how great of a teammate he is. In his interview after the game he tried to divert the credit to Chooch. He even used the word “we” as he talked about his amazing pitching performance. Doc is a player that Philadelphia can’t help but love. Just a few days ago at Clearwater, Chooch went back to his locker after the game to find a present from Doc. He opened it up and to his amazement it was a replica of Halladay’s Cy Young! He is the best in the business but you will never seem him ever take a break. In today’s game there are a lot of players who have a lot of natural talent but don’t have a good work ethic. They seem satisfied with the player they are. Not Doc, Last spring he would get to the facility at around 4 AM. He has the mindset that he can always improve and will never stop trying to get better.
Doc has been the game’s best pitcher for a number of years but never had a chance to pitch in the postseason with the Blue Jays. There were even some who weren’t sure how he would pitch with all the pressure that comes with October Baseball. In his first postseason start of his career against the Reds, he quickly silenced all of those fears. The Reds had scored the most runs in the NL last season and were thought to have the best lineup in the league. The Phillies spotted Doc an early 4-0 lead and he never looked back. As he sent hitter after hitter down, the possibility of a no-hitter seemed to enter all of our minds. But I kept thinking, it’s the playoffs, you don’t throw no-hitters in the playoffs. It had only been done 1 other time in the long history of the MLB. But we all know that he is not just an ordinary pitcher. Doc joined Don Larson as the only pitchers to ever throw a no-hitter in the postseason. It really didn’t matter what hitter he faced, they had no chance! The movement he had on all of his pitches made it almost impossible to even put in play, they had no chance to square a ball up.
Doc’s style of pitching is never going to wow the non baseball fans. He throws in the mid 90’s and he will never light up a radar gun. His philosophy is to get a hitter out while throwing as few pitches as he can. A lot of young pitchers want to try to get as many strikeouts as they can, but Doc is happier if you pop up the first pitch. His mindset is to throw as few pitches as possible, so he can get deep into the game and give the TEAM a better chance at winning. This is a man who doesn’t know the concept of “I” and would run through a wall if it would help the team. He throws a 4-seam fastball, a cutter that seems to break every bat it touches, a nasty curveball and his newly found changeup. The curveball is a pitch that he perfected during spring last year. A pitcher of his caliber perfecting another pitch is almost unfair!
Roy Halladay is the Ace of Aces and is the best pitcher in all of baseball. I think if you would have to create the perfect pitcher, he would look a lot like Roy Halladay! He has everything you would want, he has nasty stuff, he has work ethic that can’t be matched and he is an amazing teammate and leader! I really don’t know how much more he can improve, but he will find a way to get better. Halladay is a 2 time Cy Young Winner, a 7 time all-star, he has pitched a perfect game and a no-hitter and he finds himself at #1 on BLN’s 2011 Best Athlete in Philadelphia!