Halladay, 40, left fans with quite a few memories from his brilliant career. He won the Cy Young award in both leagues. He pitched a perfect game, then fired a no-hitter in the playoffs that same season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Those are all great accomplishments, but when I think of Halladay, the first thing that comes to mind is a game that I attended July 28, 2007, at U.S. Cellular Field.
What a duel it was that night between Halladay, who was then the ace of the Toronto Blue Jays, and White Sox All-Star Mark Buehrle. The game lasted only two hours, seven minutes, as two of the best in the game at that time put on a pitching clinic.
Buehrle earned the 2-0 win, as he scattered eight hits over eight shutout innings. Despite taking the loss, Halladay fired a 126-pitch complete game. He gave up 10 hits, but most of them did no damage whatsoever.
The lone exception? A two-run homer by Jerry Owens in the bottom of the seventh inning, which scored Danny Richar, who had singled one pitch earlier.
That home run turned out to be the only one of Owens' career in 540 plate appearances. Of all people to produce the game-winning runs against the great Halladay, it was the combination of Owens and Richar.
Owens hooked an inside cutter from Halladay down the right-field line, barely fair and just over the wall 335 feet from home plate. That's the beauty of baseball -- you sometimes see things you never expect to see.
What a great game that was.
And that wasn't the only time Halladay and Buehrle hooked up for a classic duel during the 2007 season. They also pitched against each other in Toronto on May 31. That game took only one hour, 50 minutes to play. The final score of that game also was 2-0, but Halladay got the upper hand with seven shutout innings, while Buehrle took a complete-game loss.
That was the same day Sox great Frank Thomas, then with the Blue Jays, homered off his good friend and former teammate Buehrle.
While we all can enjoy the occasional 13-12 slugfest, for me, there's something great about watching two star-caliber pitchers lock up in a low-scoring game. In those types of games, you never know which pitch is going to be the one that decides the game, and you never who the hero is going to be.
Sometimes it's Frank Thomas, a Hall of Famer, and sometimes it's Jerry Owens, a player long forgotten by most people.
When I think of Roy Halladay, I'm first going to think of that pitchers' duel in July 2007. Even though he was the opponent of my favorite team, it was a joy to watch him compete.