Yet 20 days apart, each hurler was spotless for one game...a perfect game. Twenty-seven batter to the plate, zero batters reaching base --- truly the art of perfection.
Also, these are two of the most different styles of pitchers in the game. Braden, who's claim to fame was criticizing Alex Rodriguez for running over the mound while he was pitching, has one of the slowest fastballs in baseball topping out at around 87 mph. To offset the lack of velocity, Dallas throws a changeup at about 72 mph to keep hitters of balance. Halladay, on the other hand, throws a varied arsenal of pitches that include a heater in the low 90's mph range, a back straightening curveball, an above average changeup, a cut fastball, and a marvelous sinker. Truly a master at his craft.
Even the perfect games were a bit different. Dallas' perfect gem came against the Tampa Bay Rays, baseball's best at the time and a great hitting team. Braden had a mere 6 strikeouts but kept the Rays off balance the entire game with his changeup. 'Doc' used his array of pitches against a free swinging Florida Marlins squad to whiff 11 batters.
The final difference I will note is that this was Braden's first brush with either a no-hitter or perfect game while Halladay nearly threw a no-hitter in his second big league start as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. In that game, Roy went 8 2/3 hitless innings against the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 27, 1998 before Bobby Higginson hit a pinch-hit home run.
Two pitchers, two different styles, one result...a perfect game, done only twenty times in major league history. That is what memories are made of.
Thank you Dallas and Roy.
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