Flashback Friday: Roy Halladay’s Second Career Start

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.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

7 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Roy Halladay’s Second Career Start

  • June 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    My favourite part about watching that game was, when CBC came out of the commercial break before the bottom of the 9th, Brian Williams something to the effect that they were going to turn off the announcer mikes and let the crowd noise do the talking. About 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Williams, and told him I thought that was one of the coolest things I've ever seen/heard on a live broadcast.

  • June 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    One correction: that second start wasn't going to be a perfect game — it was going to be a no-hitter.

    there was an error in that game.

  • June 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    mathesond, that's very cool. Not very often the announcers just sit back and watch history happen. I wish there was tape somewhere so we could go back and watch it in its entirety.

    Anon, so even if the pitcher doesn't allow a hit/walk/balk in the game, the error negates the perfect game? Seems kind of unfair to me, unless the pitcher causes the error.

  • June 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Only an error that allows a baserunner spoils a perfect game. A perfect game is just a game that has no baserunners by one team. So if someone drops a foul ball and it's ruled an error it's still a perfect game.

  • June 25, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Upon further investigation, it was Craig Grebeck who committed the error. Can you imagine if Doc tosses that no-hitter, and the only reason he doesn't get a perfect game is because Grebeck commits an error?

  • June 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I remember that game like it was yesterday. I was NOT happy – and I never liked seeing Bobby Higginson ever again. What's up with Jays pitchers having no-hitters ruined by solo homers anyways (think Romero vs. Rios from this year)? I love Doc, but I hope he gets ripped apart tonight.

  • June 25, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I can only imagine what that was like to watch live. The closest I've ever come to watching a no-no go down was that game McGowan pitched a couple of years ago against the Phillies. He was three outs away from the no-hitter.

    Not sure what it is about those solo jacks to break up the no-hitters. Just goes to show you that the course of an entire game can be changed with one pitch.

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