PHILLIES ACE Roy Halladay treated his Cy Young competition much like he did when he pitched a perfect game against the Marlins in May: 32 up, 32 down.
Halladay yesterday became just the second Phillie to win pitching's highest honor unanimously when he collected all 32 first-place votes for his second career Cy Young Award.
"It's definitely special for me," said Halladay, who was golfing in Mexico with Phils teammate Mike Sweeney and fellow National League pitchers Chris Carpenter and Chris Young when he learned the news. "Knowing how good the competition was and how well they were doing. Not only the numbers they put up, but the quality of people that were having good seasons. It means a lot. It really does. The whole season was a dream come true for me and to be able to finish it this way is a tremendous thrill."
Halladay's first-place sweep in balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America was worth a total of 224 points. The Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (122 points) was second, followed by Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez (90), Atlanta's Tim Hudson (39) and Florida's Josh Johnson (34). Steve Carlton went 27-10 for a team that won only 59 games in 1972 and is the only other Phillie to win the award unanimously.
"Obviously, I'm very, very happy for him . . . " general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It's neat to have it have been a unanimous vote. That's great for him and his family."
Halladay, a sturdy righthander acquired from Toronto by the Phillies in a trade for three prospects last December, led the National League in wins (21), innings (250 2/3), complete games (nine) and shutouts (four). He was third in ERA (2.44), second in strikeouts (219) and easily led the league with the fewest walks per nine innings (1.08). He said innings pitched is the stat he's most proud of, but his numbers tell only part of the story.
Halladay was a reliable staff ace for a team whose offense often seemed like a disabled cruise ship floating around the Pacific. Instead of eating spam, he provided the Phillies sirloin even as the fan base criticized the offseason trade of Cliff Lee.
Halladay also deserves credit for being a steady influence on the Phillies' improved pitching staff, including Cole Hamels, the enigmatic lefthander who reversed his 2009 struggles and became dominant again in 2010.
"Everything [Halladay] does is positive," said Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee. "He's always talking the game. He and Cole really bonded quite closely this year. He helped a lot of our guys either by watching how he goes about his business or having conversations about the opposition or certain things he does."
The Phillies in 2010 led the major leagues with 97 wins and Halladay pitched at least six innings in 32 of his 33 outings. He followed his worst start of the year - seven runs to the Red Sox on May 23 - by pitching a perfect game against Florida 6 days later.
And even though Cy Young voting is conducted immediately following the regular season and before the playoffs begin, it is worth noting that Halladay fired the second no-hitter in postseason history against the Reds in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. He called battery mate Carlos Ruiz "probably the best catcher I've ever had."
"I owe him a huge thanks for everything he did," Halladay said. "I'm very aware what a large part he was to my season and I just want to make sure he knows that; as were a lot of my teammates."
Halladay won the American League award with Toronto in 2003 and joins Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry as the only pitchers to win the award in both leagues. The 7-year gap between awards is tied with Tom Glavine's (1991, '98) for the longest in history, another point that makes Halladay proud.
"I hope that one of my attributes when I'm done playing is my longevity and ability to compete," said Halladay, who turns 34 in May and has 169 career wins through 13 seasons. "That's something that is definitely important to me. I always hoped it would be less time in between [Cy Young wins], but I'll never complain about it."
Halladay (21-10) is the first Phillie to win 20 games in a season since Carlton went 23-11 in 1982 and the first Phillies righty to do so since Robin Roberts (23-14) in 1955.
He earned a $250,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young on top of his 2010 base salary of $15.575 million. Halladay is signed with the Phillies through 2013 with a vesting option for 2014. Halladay said he will begin daily voluntarily workouts at the Phillies' training complex in Clearwater, Fla., in just a few weeks. A World Series ring is the only thing lacking from his resume.
"When you talk to him, you see that he's got a little bit of an edge to himself," Dubee said. "He's got a lot of confidence in himself and the way he goes about his business. From Day 1, you watch his workouts. This guy just doesn't sit still. There's always something he's trying to do to get better. That's the amazing thing. Cy Youngs in both leagues and he's always trying to improve his game."
Daily News sports writer David Murphy contributed to this report.