In the Year of the Pitcher, the pitcher is Halladay. Even his honors have honors.
Not only was Halladay awarded the 2010 National League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, he won unanimously. Only two other pitchers have achieved that distinction in the past decade -- Randy Johnson (2002) and Jake Peavy ('07).
And with this award, Halladay became one of only five pitchers to win a Cy Young Award in both leagues. The other four are Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gaylord Perry and Roger Clemens.
Halladay's work for the Philadelphia Phillies this season was impressive on its own. He went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA in 33 starts. He led the league in victories, complete games (nine), shutouts (four) and innings pitched (250 2/3). He was third in strikeouts and second in ERA. He pitched a perfect game on May 29 against the Florida Marlins.
The voting for this award includes only regular-season performance, so the no-hitter Halladay threw in his first postseason start is not even considered. Still, it was only the second no-hitter in postseason history, and that served to set Halladay apart from the rest of pitching humanity.
Halladay's unanimous recognition becomes even more impressive when the quality of the competition is considered. There were other pitchers who had outstanding seasons, but the difference was that Halladay maintained his excellence with unparalleled consistency. He had only one losing month, and only two months with an ERA over 3.00 -- never more than 3.44.
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|
Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, a consensus second-place finisher for this award, with 28 of 32 second-place votes, had another superb overall season, going 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA. But he was 7-6 after the All-Star break.
Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies was dominant early in the season, and he also threw a no-hitter. He was 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA, but after the break, he was only 4-7 with a 3.80 ERA.
The Marlins' Josh Johnson led the NL in ERA at 2.30 and had stretches of real dominance, but injuries shortened his season and he was shut down in mid-September. Johnson finished fifth in the balloting. Atlanta's Tim Hudson (17-9, 2.83) placed fourth in a comeback season following Tommy John surgery, but he also did his most consistent work before September.
The pitcher who had won the NL Cy Young Award the last two seasons, Tim Lincecum, slipped to 11th place in this year's voting. His 16-10 record and 3.43 ERA were pedestrian by his lofty standards.
But you have to like Lincecum's consolation prize. Not only did he and the San Francisco Giants win the World Series, but Lincecum won two games in the Fall Classic, including the clincher, a terrific pitching duel against the Rangers' Cliff Lee. The winner of the final postseason game doesn't have to take a back seat to anybody, Cy Young Award or not.
But for April through September performance, Halladay was the best the NL had, perhaps the best that baseball had. At age 33, he made the transition from one league to the other, and he pitched his home games in one of the game's most hitter-friendly facilities.
No matter, this was not only the Year of the Pitcher. This was also the Year of Roy Halladay. Doc was dominant. In fact, he was so good that he made history. The competition was significant, but even so, the unanimous vote for Halladay as NL Cy Young Award winner was not an overstatement. It was justice.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.