Phillies Ace Roy Halladay Is No Tom Seaver

Harold FriendChief Writer IMarch 8, 2011

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at Bright House Networks Field on February 22, 2011 in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Roy Halladay ranks among the best pitchers in the game today. He pitched a perfect game during the 2010 regular season and followed that with a no-hitter in the playoffs. But just how good is Halladay compared to some of the "recent" greats?

Following the 1969 season in which New York's most beloved team, the New York Mets, pulled off one of the greatest surprises in sports history, Tom Seaver was considered baseball's premier pitcher. He was even better than even the great Bob Gibson or the equally outstanding Juan Marichal.

Seaver was 25-7 with a 2.21 ERA in 1969. He joined the Mets 1967, won 16 games and was the Rookie of the Year. Seaver's last season as a great pitcher was probably the strike-shortened season of 1981, when he was 14-2 with a 2.54 ERA.

The following represents a typical Seaver season from 1967-81:

17 10 2.60 33 253 205 72 136 1.079

Roy Halladay became Roy Halladay when he returned from the minors in 2001. From 2001-10, Halladay has the following statistics:

16 7 3.05 29 207 158 36 147 1.122

The numbers are extremely close. Seaver averaged one more win a season than Halladay, but he averaged three more losses.

Seaver has a big edge in ERA, but Halladay had to face teams with the designated hitter when he was in the American League. Halladay actually has a better ERA.

In 1967 and 1968, Seaver pitched off mounds that were 15 inches high, which was an advantage never enjoyed by Halladay.

Seaver started more games, worked more innings and struck out many more hitters than Halladay. There were fewer league strikeouts during Seaver's career, which makes his edge even more impressive. Of course, National League pitchers had to hit against Seaver, which helped his strikeout totals.

Seaver walked almost twice as many in a typical season as did Halladay, but he worked more innings. Seaver allowed about 2.6 walks per nine innings, while Halladay allowed only 1.6 walks per nine innings.

Finally, Seaver's 1.079 WHIP ranks among the lowest in history. For his entire career, the greatest pitcher in Mets' history had a 1.21 WHIP, compared to Halladay's 1.81.

Both were workhorses. The only reason Halladay has relatively few complete games is that games are turned over to closers today. If he pitched today, the same idiotic approach would be used with Seaver.

The statistics of each are so close that it is impossible to prove which pitcher was better. Both rank among the best of all time and possibly the best of his era.

I saw most of Seaver's games until he was sent to Cincinnati. I have seen almost as many of Halladay's games thanks to modern means of watching baseball.

It is a judgment call. The pick here is Seaver over Halladay.


Baseball Reference