Roy Halladay a wolf among kittens

October, 6, 2010
10/06/10
8:46
PM ET
For your consideration, a list:

Johnny Vander Meer
Allie Reynolds
Virgil Trucks
Don Larsen
Nolan Ryan

Those are the only men who have thrown two no-hitters in one calendar year or thrown a postseason no-hitter.

Roy Halladay just became the first pitcher to do both.

[+] EnlargeRoy Halladay
AP Photo/Rob CarrRoy Halladay is the only player to have two no-hitters in the same season with one in the postseason.
Should we be surprised?

Sure. Just look at that list. Talented fellows, but only one of them has a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

Vander Meer won only 15 games in the season in which he pitched two no-hitters, never won 20 games in one season, and finished his career with a losing record.

In 1952, Virgil Trucks lost 19 games and won only five ... but two of those were no-hitters (and another was a one-hitter).

Just two years before Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, he went 3-21 with the Baltimore Orioles. After pitching the perfect game, he went 51-51 and finished his career with a losing record.

Of course, Allie Reynolds and Nolan Ryan both were outstanding pitchers for a number of years. Still, that list is as notable for the names you don't see as the names you do. No Bob Feller or Sandy Koufax, no Steve Carlton or Tom Seaver, no Greg Maddux or Roger Clemens. No Johan Santana or CC Sabathia.

Is Halladay better than all of those pitchers.

No.

Was there any reason to think he would be luckier than all of those pitchers? Let alone the thousands of other, lesser pitchers who haven't done what he's now done?

No.

Surprised? Yes, we should be surprised.

Shocked? Hardly.

In 2008 and 2009, pitching in the toughest division in the toughest league, Halladay went 37-21 with a 2.78 ERA and led the American League in strikeout-to-walk ratio in both seasons.

It stood to reason that he might do something even more impressive upon joining the National League.

A great deal's going to be made of Halladay throwing a no-hitter in his first postseason game ... but in just his 11th National League game, he threw a perfect game. Earlier in the season, he'd thrown a five-hitter and a three-hitter. Later, he would throw two more five-hitters and, in his last start of the season, a two-hitter.

Halladay's perfect game and his two-hitter both came after five days of rest (rather than the usual four). Shouldn't we have expected something special today, after eight days of rest?

Letting Roy Halladay loose against the National League this year was like locking a hungry wolf inside a garage full of kittens.

We couldn't have seen this coming, quite.

But we should have seen something like it.

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