Yesterday, former Blue Jays and Phillies star Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay, one of the best pitchers of his generation, is likely to be enshrined in Cooperstown. It is a terrible shame he will not get to experience the thrill of that moment with his family, friends, teammates, coaches, and fans. Since news of his death was reported the internet has been awash in Halladay tribute stories and memories, like this, this, this, this, this, and so many more.
Since hearing about his death I have been stuck on a memory of going with friends to see a Jays game he started but missing half the game because he was too damn good.
The game is this one. August 14, 2007 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. At that time I was close to finishing up my first year of grad school at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Hamilton is about an hour’s drive from Toronto, so heading into the city for a Blue Jays’ game was not unreasonable. I have no recollection for why we decided to go to this game. I don’t think it was specifically an effort to see Halladay pitch, but maybe it was. It doesn’t really matter. Nor do I recall the exact group of people I went with, although I can make some reasoned guesses. Regardless of the purpose for going or group of people I was with, the reason this game sticks out is because we missed half of it! This was partly because the traffic on the 403 was more brutal than it usual is, so we didn’t even arrive at the stadium until the fourth inning, but also partly because Roy Halladay threw a complete game in 1 hour and 58 minutes! A 9-inning game finishing in under two hours is a real rarity. Since 1995 it has happened only 220 times, which is less than 1 percent of the games played since then.
In his career, Halladay threw 67 complete games, an astoundingly high number for the era in which he pitched. This one that I and a group of friends only caught about an hour of was the fourth shortest of those 67. In the end, we probably spent three+ hours in a car (or on a bus, I can’t remember) roundtrip to see an hour of baseball. But I don’t recall any of us being all that mad about it. Roy was so good and getting to see him mow down a very strong Angels lineup, even for just a short amount of time, was great fun.
Anyway, for whatever reason that is the Roy Halladay memory that has been bouncing around my head since his passing. He was a great baseball player and reportedly an excellent person. All the best to his family and friends in this tremendously difficult time.
For those interested, here are the 10 shortest complete games of Halladay’s career.
|1||2005-05-10||TOR||KCR||W 3-1||CG, W||9.0||8||1||1||0||5||1||0||97||63||72||32||31||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1.00||0.478||3.853||1.146||104|
|2||1998-09-27||TOR||DET||W 2-1||CG, W||9.0||1||1||1||0||8||1||0||95||73||89||29||29||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.00||0.623||4.044||.987||105|
|3||2001-10-05 (1)||TOR||CLE||W 5-0||SHO, W||9.0||2||0||0||0||8||0||0||83||60||91||29||29||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.285||5.034||.416||117|
|4||2007-08-14||TOR||LAA||W 4-1||CG, W||9.0||5||1||1||1||2||0||0||99||71||74||30||29||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||1.00||0.334||3.954||.811||118|
|5||2006-05-08||TOR||LAA||W 5-1||CG, W||9.0||4||1||1||1||6||0||0||98||60||80||32||30||2||0||0||1||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||0||1.00||0.368||3.973||.774||119|
|6||2013-04-19||PHI||STL||W 8-2||CG(7), W||7.0||2||2||2||2||6||2||0||109||59||69||25||23||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.57||0.074||1.100||.236||121|
|7||2007-04-30||TOR||TEX||W 6-1||CG, W||9.0||5||1||1||0||8||0||0||110||80||81||31||31||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||1.00||0.378||3.954||.832||122|
|8||2003-09-11||TOR||TBD||W 3-1||CG, W||9.0||5||1||0||2||3||0||1||93||64||76||32||29||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||0||1||0||0||0||0.00||0.540||3.661||1.410||123|
|9||2003-09-06||TOR||DET||W 1-0||SHO(10), W||10.0||3||0||0||1||5||0||0||99||70||90||35||33||1||0||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.883||5.670||1.431||123|
|10||2011-09-14||PHI||HOU||W 1-0||SHO, W||9.0||6||0||0||1||7||0||0||114||86||81||34||32||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.796||4.037||1.748||126|
Click here to see all 67 of his complete games, sorted by game length.