Roy Halladay became the fifth pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both the National and American Leagues after a season in which he threw a perfect game and pitched his best at the close of the season.
Halladay, in his first year with the Philadelphia Phillies, was unanimously named the NL’s best pitcher in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright was the runner-up.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who won the AL honor in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays, finished the season with a 21-10 record and a 2.44 earned run average. He threw Major League Baseball’s 20th perfect game May 29. He also pitched a no-hitter in his first postseason start on Oct. 6, after the votes for the award were cast.
“The whole season was a dream come true for me,” Halladay said. “To be able to finish it this way was a tremendous thrill.”
Halladay, who learned of the honor while golfing in Mexico with fellow major-leaguers Chris Carpenter, Mike Sweeney and Chris Young, said he was surprised at being named the first unanimous winner since Jake Peavy in 2007.
“There could have been strong cases for four or five different guys,” Halladay said on a conference call with reporters.
Halladay’s second half separated him from the other candidates. He went 11-3 after the All-Star break, including wins in all five September starts as the Phillies overcame a midseason slump to claim the NL East by six games with a 97-65 record.
The high point of his regular season came in a 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins, when he retired 27 consecutive batters to record a perfect game.
He then threw the first no-hitter in the postseason since Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series as the Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0. The feat came after Halladay failed to reach the playoffs in 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Halladay, who agreed to a three-year, $60 million contract extension after being traded from Toronto, earned all 32 first-place votes in the poll and a total of 224 points in balloting that took place prior to the postseason, becoming the 13th unanimous winner in the NL and 16th multiple winner in either league.
Seven points were awarded for each first-place vote, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.
Wainwright earned 28 second-place votes and a total of 122 points. He was followed by the Colorado Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez (90 points) and the Atlanta Braves’ Tim Hudson (39 points). Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants, who won the award the previous two seasons, finished 11th.
“It was definitely special for me knowing how good the competition was,” Halladay said.
Wainwright was the only 20-game winner in the NL other than Halladay, going 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA. He was 7-6 in 14 starts after the All-Star break.
Jimenez had the best first half of the season, posting a 15-1 record and throwing a no-hitter before the All-Star break. He finished the season with a 19-8 record and a 2.88 ERA.
The honor put Halladay in the company of Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry, who each won Cy Youngs in both leagues.
Halladay led the NL in victories, complete games (9), shutouts (4) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (7.3). His league-best 250.2 innings pitched was his best accomplishment, he said.
“As a starter, the games you finish are always nice, but to be able to go as deep as you can as consistently as possible is something that all starting pitchers want to strive to do,” Halladay said.
Pitchers were dominant throughout the majors in 2010. In the NL, hurlers combined for a 4.03 ERA, the lowest since 1992. The 0.93 home runs hit per game were the fewest since 1993 and the 7.37 strikeouts per contest were the most ever.
“Looking at some of the guys that really dominated this year, it’s going to be something that continues to stick out,” Halladay said. “There’s just so much good young pitching coming up.”