The Sporting News just named Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay as its 2010 Athlete of the Year. As Halladay recounts the five most memorable moments of his year, several leadership principles stand out.
- You Never Have To Recover From A Good Start – On December 16th, 2009, Halladay and his wife, Brandy, attended a 76ers game the day he signed with the team. During the game, the Philadelphia fans gave him a standing ovation.
- Small Adjustments Bring Major Results – Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history on May 29th against the Florida Marlins. Prior to the game, teammate Jamie Moyer noticed something about Halladay’s mechanics. Halladay states “he thought I was stepping sideways in my windup rather than building a lot of backward-to-forward momentum. I owe that crucial mechanical adjustment to him.” After the game, Halladay bought Baume & Mercier watches for the players and staff. On the box was engraved “We did it together.”
- Celebration – On September 19th, Jayson Werth capped a four-run 9th inning with a walk-off home run against the Washington Nationals. What is significant about this memorable event is Halladay did not pitch that day. However, the locker room celebration had such excitement that he “had to sit down and close my eyes because I was starting to get dizzy.” He called the moment “awesome, incredible, and definitely something I’ll never forget.”
- Shared Experiences – “Those were big deals (no-hitter and clinching the division), of course, but I took even more meaning from the experience I shared with teammates in the moments after the game.” After pitching the division clinching game, Halladay was delayed getting into the clubhouse because of post-game interviews. He expected the party to be in full swing. However, when he arrived “they were waiting for my arrival so that Mike Sweeney, Brian Schneider and I could be the first to pop the corks. Why us? Because we were the only guys on the team who’d never been to the playoffs.”
- Partnership – On October 6th, Halladay pitched the 2nd no-hitter in MLB play-off history. An unsung hero in this effort to many is catcher Carlos Ruiz but not Halladay. “I couldn’t have done it without my catcher, Carlos Ruiz, whom I respect so much. Carlos is such a good player and just the greatest guy…He felt like an equal partner in our accomplishment, and I love that about him. That camaraderie was one of the best things about a year unlike any other in my career.”
During the game, home plate umpire John Hirschbeck kept telling himself “Don’t screw up. Call your normal strike zone. Don’t let this be about you. I wanted to make sure the Reds had their chance, but in the end they had no chance.”
With the signing of Cliff Lee to this already superlative staff and team with great chemistry and character, I’m not sure anyone else does either.
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