Perfectly Unlikely: Why great pitchers like Roy Halladay don’t usually throw no-hitters.


Tim Marchman writes about Wednesday’s no-no. These lines caught my eye:

Past the attention deservedly brought to a great pitcher who’s done his work in the relative obscurity of Toronto for a dozen years, then, the delightful thing about Halladay’s achievement is that it represents a triumph of the better side of baseball.

At its worst, in the preening narcissism of a pitcher who would rather walk a hitter than give him something to hit, (emphasis mine) baseball is a selfish game played selfishly. (What other game could possibly have produced Reggie Jackson discoursing on “the magnitude of me”?) At its best, though, baseball can be a game of sacrifice. This is most visible in small, quickly forgotten moments—a close strike taken to allow a runner to steal, a well-laid bunt that covers a busted hit-and-run—that usually draw golf claps when they’re noticed at all.

For Halladay, every pitch is such a moment—and paradoxically, this has now led him to unprecedented individual glory. The pitcher who goes for the strikeout over the lightly tapped grounder to second base is usually the one who wins the fame and fortune (as Nolan Ryan, .526 pitcher and icon of American manliness, could tell you). Virtue does not always win out in baseball. This once, it has.

That segment reminded me of Dice-K the anti-Maranvillain.

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