Roy Halladay died tragically on Tuesday after his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, just off Florida's western coast. He was 40 years old.
The eight-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young award winner was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era, but he'll be equally remembered as a universally admired professional around the game. He was, by all accounts, a man who attacked his craft with the utmost dedication.
In honor of the great who has left us far too soon, here are five of the best moments from Halladay's storied career.
September 6, 2003: The 10-inning, 98-pitch, two-hour shutout
In an era when teams became increasingly cautious with pitch counts and games trended longer and longer, Halladay distinguished himself with an anachronistic propensity to pitch late into games, and to do so quickly. Halladay threw a complete game 67 times, more than any pitcher over the past two decades, but he only once threw an extra-inning shutout. On this September afternoon, Halladay shut out the Tigers and allowed just three hits over 10 innings before Bobby Kielty gave Halladay the much-deserved win with a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the tenth. Perhaps most impressively, Halladay threw just 98 pitches over the ten innings, and the official game time was a remarkably brisk 2:03. Halladay hadn't reached his peak yet, but this was one of the most Halladay-ian performance of his career.
September 27, 1998: 21-year-old dominates in second-career start
Halladay was a first-round pick in the 1995 draft, but his path to stardom was not without its detours. After a strong start to his career, Halladay's struggles prompted the Blue Jays to send him to Class A Dunedin in the spring of 2001. The organization, however, maintained a steadfast belief in Halladay that was richly rewarded, and nights like this made maintaining that belief easier. Making just his second career start, Halladay no-hit the Tigers for 8 2/3 innings at the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) before allowing a pinch-hit solo home run Bobby Higginson. It was the only hit Halladay gave up that night, as he got the final out to seal a 2-1 victory. He struck out eight and flashed his Cy Young potential.
September 27, 2010: Halladay pitches himself into the playoffs, finally
Sometimes in sports, a player's individual greatness is an unfortunate mismatch with the futility of his team. Such was the case with Roy Halladay; the Blue Jays went 20 years between playoff appearances from 1994 until 2014, and Halladay's career fell smack in the middle of the drought. Halladay was finally traded to a contender after the 2009 season, when the Blue Jays traded him to the Phillies for Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor. With six games left in his first season with the Phillies, Halladay took the mound with an opportunity to clinch the NL East and his first-career playoff berth. In typical Halladay fashion, he pitched a complete-game shutout and allowed just two hits to beat the Nationals 8-0 and clinch the division. The performance doubled as his last start in his second Cy Young season.
May 29, 2010: Perfection
Cy Young's, leading the league in strikeouts, 20-win seasons—these are all fantastic, but nothing punctuates a pitcher's resume quite like a perfect game. On a balmy May night in Miami, in the beginning stages of a Cy Young season, Halladay earned his timeless capsule of perfection. Halladay needed 115 pitches to secure his first and only perfect game, which came in a 1-0 win over the Marlins. "Early in my bullpen I was hitting spots more than I have been," Halladay said after the game. "I felt like I just carried that out there."
October 6, 2010: The postseason no-hitter
Since 1876, there have been 296 no-hitters, which averages out to roughly two per year. There have been two postseason-no hitters in the history of baseball. One was a perfect game thrown by Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, the other being Halladay's no-no in the 2010 NLDS. In his first-ever postseason start, Halladay no-hit the Reds in a 4-0 victory in Game 1 of the Division Series, striking out eight and walking just one on 104 pitches. The Phillies would go on to lose to the Giants in the NLCS in six games, but Halladay's performance in front of an electric Philadelphia crowd is one that will never be forgotten. Like the man himself.