He learned on a golf course somewhere in Mexico -- his foursome included Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter, Phillies backup first baseman Mike Sweeney and Padres righty Chris Young -- he was the unanimous 2010 National League Cy Young Award winner. He is just the fifth pitcher in baseball history to win the award in both leagues, and just the 16th multiple winner.
The honor is well deserved. Halladay became just the 20th pitcher in baseball history to throw a perfect game, when he threw one May 29 against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium, and just the second pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, when he threw one Oct. 6 against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series at Citizens Bank Park.
Halladay has been considered one of the best pitchers in baseball -- if not the best -- for the past nine seasons.
Tuesday's honor moved him a little closer to the Hall of Fame.
"I think there are obviously things I would like to accomplish first," Halladay said during a conference call Tuesday, when asked about the Hall of Fame. "First and foremost, winning a World Series. I really just want to keep my focus on that at this point. I think my guess would be most players in the Hall of Fame didn't play to try to get into the Hall of Fame. They played to be good teammates and good competitors. Obviously, every player would hope to be there, love to be there, but my focus will always continue to be on trying to be the best teammate and hopefully getting a chance to win the big one."
Halladay remains committed to the ultimate team prize: a World Series ring.
But Tuesday was about his tremendous individual achievement.
Halladay, who won the 2003 American League Cy Young Award with the Toronto Blue Jays, went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA in 33 starts. He led the league in wins, complete games (nine), shutouts (four) and innings pitched (250 2/3). He finished second in strikeouts (219) and walked just 30 batters.
Only six other pitchers have walked 30 or fewer batters in 250 or more innings in the modern era, and none has accomplished the feat since Grover Cleveland Alexander walked 30 in 305 innings in 1923 with the Chicago Cubs. The other pitchers include Cy Young (1904-06), Christy Mathewson (1913-14), Deacon Phillippe (1902-03), Addie Joss (1908) and Babe Adams (1919-20).
Alexander, Mathewson, Joss and Young are in the Hall of Fame.
The other four pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues? Gaylord Perry, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. Perry already is in the Hall of Fame. Johnson and Martinez are locks. Clemens would be a lock, except for the controversy surrounding his use of performance-enhancing substances.
NL CY YOUNG VOTING
|Roy Halladay, Phillies||32||-||-||-||-||224|
|Adam Wainwright, Cardinals||-||28||3||-||1||122|
|Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies||-||4||19||8||1||90|
|Tim Hudson, Braves||-||-||3||13||4||39|
|Josh Johnson, Marlins||-||-||5||5||9||34|
|Roy Oswalt, Astros/Phillies||-||-||1||3||5||14|
|Brian Wilson, Giants||-||-||-||1||5||7|
|Heath Bell, Padres||-||-||1||-||1||4|
|Mat Latos, Padres||-||-||-||1||2||4|
|Brett Myers, Astros||-||-||-||1||-||2|
|Tim Lincecum, Giants||-||-||-||-||2||2|
|Bronson Arroyo, Reds||-||-||-||-||1||1|
|Matt Cain, Giants||-||-||-||-||1||1|
The other 15 pitchers to win multiple Cy Young Awards? Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer and Perry are in the Hall of Fame. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Martinez and Johnson are locks. Johan Santana and Tim Lincecum are building impressive resumes, and Clemens remains a question mark.
Only Denny McLain and Bret Saberhagen have not been enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Halladay is a late bloomer of sorts, but a few more solid seasons and he will make a strong case for enshrinement. (He only has 169 wins.) He already has. Baseball-Reference.com uses a Hall of Fame Monitor. A score of 100 or more typically translates to a Hall of Fame player.
Halladay already has a score of 108.
But Halladay hardly sounded content Tuesday. He said he already has started workouts to get his arm in shape for 2011. He said the intensity of those workouts will pick up in a couple weeks.
Halladay's legendary work ethic is a big reason why he leads Major League Baseball in wins (151) the past nine seasons.
"I think when you talk to [Halladay], you see that he's got a little bit of an edge about himself," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said during the conference call. "He's got a lot of confidence in himself and the way he goes about his business from Day 1. You watch his workouts. This guy just doesn't sit still. There's always something he's trying to do to get better. That's the amazing thing. Cy Youngs in both leagues, and he's always trying to improve his game."
IN TOTAL AGREEMENT
|Sandy Koufax, Dodgers||1963|
|Sandy Koufax, Dodgers||1965|
|Sandy Koufax, Dodgers||1966|
|Bob Gibson, Cardinals||1968|
|Steve Carlton, Phillies||1972|
|Rick Sutcliffe, Cubs||1984|
|Dwight Gooden, Mets||1985|
|Orel Hershiser, Dodgers||1988|
|Greg Maddux, Braves||1994|
|Greg Maddux, Braves||1995|
|Randy Johnson, D-backs||2002|
|Jake Peavy, Padres||2007|
|Roy Halladay, Phillies||2010|
Halladay received all 32 first-place votes to finish with 224 points. Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright finished second with 122 points, receiving 28 second-place votes. Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez finished third with 90 points, receiving four second-place votes.
Phillies teammate Roy Oswalt finished sixth. He received one third-place vote, three fourth-place votes and five fifth-place votes. Former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers finished 10th. He got one fourth-place vote.
Halladay joined Steve Carlton (1972, '77, '80 and '82), John Denny (1983) and Steve Bedrosian (1987) as the only Phillies pitchers to win a Cy Young Award. If he remains healthy, it is not a stretch to think he could win a couple more.
But for the moment, Halladay wants to savor his first year in Philadelphia.
"The whole season was a dream come true for me," said Halladay, who waived his no-trade clause in December to join the Phillies. "To be able to finish it this way is just a tremendous thrill. Being able to play in a great city, having great teammates and having success and highlights during the season, it just made it all so memorable for me. It's by far the most fun I've ever had playing this game. It was tremendous from Day 1 to the very end. We had our ups and downs, but I couldn't have done it with a better group of guys in a better city. I'm looking forward to trying to improve upon it next year."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.