On the eve of Roy Halladay’s start against his former club, I can’t help but think back to the start that made Doc a household name.
For this week’s Acid Flashback Friday, we take a look back at how close Roy Halladay come to throwing a perfect game no-hitter in just his second career start.
It was the final day of the 1998 season. The Toronto Blue Jays were wrapping up their series with the Detroit Tigers, and the Jays were putting the final touches on yet another third place finish while Roger Clemens was poised to win his second straight Cy Young Award.
On September 28th 2008 though, all eyes were focused on the young 21 year old starter just called up from the minor leagues. Halladay tamed the Detroit Tigers throughout eight innings, and returned in the bottom of the ninth in the hopes of putting the final touches on a gem of a game.
He began the ninth by getting Gape Kapler to Line out, followed by a ground out from Paul Bako. All that stood in the way of Roy Halladay and perfection was pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson.
Halladay worked Higginson to a 0-2 count and was just one strike away from a perfect game no-hitter before Higginson sent the pitch deep to left field and into the Blue Jays bullpen for a solo home run.
The no-hitter had been compromised, but the start had not. Roy Halladay stayed in the game and finished it off and picked up the complete game victory.
The irony in it all was the pitcher who caught the ball in the Blue Jays bullpen was none other than Dave Stieb, the man who had himself come within one out of a no-hitter on three separate occasions before finally nailing the no-no.
We may not have known the significance of it at the time, but Roy Halladay’s second career start was just a sample of the kind of greatness that was to be displayed in the following 12 years with the Blue Jays organization.
That no-hitter may have eluded Roy Halladay in Toronto, but it was nice to see him exorcise those demons and toss a perfect game with the Phillies.
The only way to have a more perfect ending would’ve been if Bobby Higginson came out of retirement, and Roy Halladay struck him out to get the perfect game.