Roy Halladay Postseason No-Hitter: Ten Reasons Don Larsen's Was More Impressive
Coming into the 2010 MLB postseason, everyone wanted to know if Roy Halladay was ready to pitch on the big stage. The real question turned out to be if the stage was ready for him. Roy Halladay stepped on the mound and put on a historical performance by completing the second no-hitter in postseason history, leading his team to a 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The only other no-hitter in baseball postseason history was Don Larsen's 1956 World Series Game 5 perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Although Halladay threw the most memorable game of 2010, here are 10 reasons Larsen's perfect game was more impressive.
10. Don Larsen Was a Yankee
When it comes down to baseball history, everything is more memorable when the New York Yankees are involved. I am as far from a Yankees fan as there is but I do recognize the unique place that the Bronx Bombers hold in MLB history. For that reason, Don Larsen's feat will live on forever and baseball fans will be reminded of his 1956 perfect game more often than Roy Halladay's no-hitter.
If Halladay were pitching for or against the Yankees, his feat would've been in prime time television. Since he was pitching for the Phillies, his game was sandwiched between the Rays, who can't draw attendance, and the Yankees, who everyone either loves to hate or hates to love. Like it or not, right or wrong, there is a media bias when it comes to the Yankees. Prior to Halladay's epic performance, the most memorable story of the 2010 season was arguably the passing of George Steinbrenner.
When it is all said and done there will be T-shirts, videos, magazine covers, highlights, and all sorts of other commemorative memorabilia from Halladay's game. Had he been a Yankee, it would live on in old-timers day, Yankee Stadium, monument park, and every other piece of Yankee history.
9. Don Larsen Had to Redeem Himself For a Poor Game 2 Performance
Roy Halladay starting in Game 1 of the NLDS for the Philadelphia Phillies is no surprise to anyone. However, Don Larsen starting in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series was a little surprising. After all, in Game 2 he lasted less than two innings and allowed four runs off of four walks.
Being able to bounce back from that type of effort and start a game is remarkable in itself. According to Larsen, he didn't even know he was starting until he arrived at the ballpark that day and saw a baseball sitting in his shoes.
Roy Halladay knew he was starting Game 1 the second the Phillies clinched the postseason.
After the game, Larsen said, "When it was over, I was so happy, I felt like crying. I wanted to win this one for Casey [Stengel]. After what I did in Brooklyn, he could have forgotten about me and who would blame him? But he gave me another chance and I'm grateful."
8. 2010 Is The Year of The Pitcher
Is anyone surprised to hear another no-hitter has been thrown? No-hitters this season have become almost normal.
It felt as if pitchers this season were on a whole different level than batters. It can be attributed to better testing for performance enhancing drugs, improved pitcher development, better competitive balance, or that baseball is just cyclical. No matter the reason, there is no denying that no-hitters were much more commonplace in 2010 than in recent history.
Roy Halladay's feat is less impressive because it was the sixth no-hitter for 2010, including the perfect game he threw on May 29th against the Florida Marlins. Also, not including the perfect game that was taken away from Armando Galarraga by a blown call.
7. 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers Had Four Hall Of Famers
In the Baseball Hall of Fame you will find the names of Walt Alston (manager), Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider.
You will also find these names on the box score for the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Don Larsen dominated a lineup of hitters that was legendary. In 97 pitches, he retired all the batters he faced.
Again, if Halladay would've thrown his no-hitter against the current Yankees with Jeter and Rodriguez in the lineup, it would increase the level of greatness associated with the feat.
The Cincinnati Reds don't have four future Hall of Famers on their current lineup.
Jackie Robinson's jersey number 42 has been retired by every team in MLB.
6. The Reds Are Strikeout Magnets
It makes sense that teams that accumulate a higher number of strikeouts are more likely to be on the wrong side of a no-hitter.
For further evidence, look at the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are the only playoff team that received more strikeouts than the Reds this season. They also are the only team to get no-hit twice this season including a perfect game. The reason they are so prone to getting no-hit is because they are prone to strikeouts, finishing with the third most in the majors.
Cincinnati finished the regular season with the seventh most strikeouts of any team in the majors. It isn't much of a surprise that they were no-hit to open the playoffs.
5. Don Larsen Was Only in His Fourth Season
Don Larsen made his Major League debut on April 18, 1953. In his fourth season, he found himself on the mound of Game 5 of a World Series pitching a perfect game. Roy Halladay made his debut over 12 years prior to pitching his no-hitter.
Although accomplishing a no-hitter in the postseason is a very challenging task, Halladay was better prepared. He is a very accomplished veteran with numerous experiences to draw from to remain focused on the task at hand. Also, his quest for a championship is strong enough for him to draw on to be dominant over the upstart Reds.
In Halladay's fourth season, he didn't have the skills and ability to complete a postseason no-hitter.
4. Roy Halladay Is a Future Hall of Famer
There are certain feats in sports that aren't as surprising as others. Roy Halladay throwing a postseason no-hitter is less surprising than Don Larsen's. Granted, it is a once in a lifetime moment that only happens every 53 years. However, Halladay is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball today.
Halladay is arguably one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. If you look at pitchers born from 1972-1982 there are few, if any, that are better than Halladay. As long as he is able to finish his career with over 200 wins, I don't see a way that he doesn't get enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If it wasn't for Larsen's perfect game, nobody would know who he was. Larsen pitched against Hall of Famers, but Halladay is a future Hall of Famer.
3. Don Larsen Was The First to Throw a Postseason No-Hitter
Everything is more special the first time it is done. We remember the first sub-four minute mile, first man in space, and first postseason no-hitter in baseball history.
In 1956, for a pitcher to throw a perfect game in a World Series was national news. Baseball was still the most popular sport in the country. Now baseball is second and perhaps third in popularity in America. Don Larsen's no-hitter is remembered by sports fans across the country from that era. It was something that was never seen before and nobody was sure when they would see it again.
Halladay completed his feat 54 years after Larsen's but it isn't the same. It's the second postseason no-hitter in baseball history. In this country our culture doesn't cherish being the second to do anything as much as we cherish the first.
The second African American to play Major League Baseball also endured a lot of hardships, but Jackie Robinson is the name that everyone knows. Hopefully, Roy Halladay's accomplishment will be better passed down through history than the name of Larry Doby.
2. Don Larsen Threw a Perfect Game
The difference between Halladay's no-hitter and a perfect game was a walk to Jay Bruce in the fifth inning.
Halladay isn't a stranger to a perfect game—he threw one earlier this season. He came up one batter short in his postseason debut. As remarkable as Halladay's efforts against the Reds was, I have a hard time to find his feat more impressive than Larsen's perfect game.
In the modern era of baseball, there have been 226 no-hitters thrown but only 18 perfect games. Since there have only been two postseason no-hitters, the more impressive outing has to be Larsen's perfect game.
1. Don Larsen Did It in a World Series
The NLDS will never be the World Series. Roy Halladay's remarkable game will never exceed Don Larsen's.
The larger the stage, the larger the moment. If a pitcher throws a perfect game in Spring Training, it would make for a cool highlight but not much more. When ranking how impressive a feat was, you must consider the stage on which it was performed.
Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the World Series against the defending World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers. It was also the last all-New York World Series until the 2000 World Series between the Yankees and Mets. Hallady threw a no-hitter against a team that hadn't made the playoffs in 15 years.
Larsen's no-hitter is accompanied by the names of Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Jackie Robinson. These are names that have lived in baseball history for over 50 years. How many players from Halladay's no-hitter will live on in 2060?
I know we always want moments that we see to be the best moment to ever happen. However, sometimes they are simply great moments and not the greatest moment.