By Manny Randhawa
As the baseball world mourns the passing of Roy Halladay after his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, recollections of his devotion to family, friends and teammates throughout his life pay tribute to the man he was off the field.
Halladay leaves a legacy far more significant than anything done on a baseball diamond, but as we remember him, we undoubtedly also look back at one of the great pitching careers in baseball history. In fact, Halladay's greatness has perhaps been understated, much like his humble personality was.
From 2002, Halladay's first full season as a starting pitcher, to 2011, only one starter (minimum 1,200 innings pitched) had a higher ERA+ than Halladay's 148, and that was Johan Santana (150). Only one starter threw more innings over that span than Halladay's 2,194 2/3: Mark Buehrle, who threw 9 1/3 more.
No one threw more complete games than Halladay over that 10-season period, and it wasn't close: Halladay's 63 complete games were 30 more than second-place CC Sabathia. Of Halladay's 63 complete games during that span, 18 were shutouts, most of any pitcher (Sabathia's 12 were second).
No one had a lower FIP than Halladay's 3.12. Only one starting pitcher (minimum 1,200 innings pitched) had a lower walk-per-nine-innings rate than Halladay's 1.53: Greg Maddux, at 1.48.
Was Halladay the best pitcher in baseball from 2002-11? In terms of wins above replacement, no one had a higher Baseball Reference WAR (62.4) or FanGraphs WAR (58.7). And no one had a higher win probability added, taking into account performance in high leverage situations, than Halladay's 38.4.
Under the bright lights of October, Halladay did something only one other pitcher in baseball history had ever done before him, and none has done since: In Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park, he no-hit Cincinnati to join Don Larsen as the only pitchers to ever throw a postseason no-hitter -- Larsen threw a perfect game for the Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. In 38 career postseason innings, Halladay's ERA was 2.37 and he struck out 35 while walking only five.
Just months before throwing his NLDS no-hitter, Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins in Miami on May 29, becoming just the fifth pitcher in baseball history to throw two no-hitters in the same season. He was the first to do so in 37 years (Nolan Ryan in 1973) and the first to do so with one in the regular season and one in the postseason.
Halladay will be remembered for far more than what he did on the mound during his Major League career. But when his name appears on the Baseball Writers' Association of America's Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2019, his decade-long dominance as the game's best starting pitcher makes him a strong candidate for induction in Cooperstown.
When we think of the greatest pitchers of the early- to mid-2000s, names like Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling come to mind. When we think of the great pitchers toward the end of that decade, we think of hurlers like Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez.
But spanning the 10 best seasons of his career, no one was better than Halladay. We'll miss you, Doc.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter and member of the Statcast™ research team at MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @MannyOnMLB.