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Paul Hagen's column on Roy Halladay's playoff no-hitter | From our archives

Paul Hagen, Daily News Sports Writer

Updated: Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 11:08 PM

Everybody, including home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck, knew that Roy Halladay was working on a no-hitter. And Hirschbeck instinctively understood he might be the only one who couldn't let himself get caught up in the increasing frenzy around him.

Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz celebrate Halladay's no-hitter and win in Game 1 of the NLDS. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
The Phillies celebrate Roy Halladay's no-hitter and win in Game 1 of the NLDS Series at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
The Phillies celebrate Roy Halladay's no-hitter and their win in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay raises his cap in salute to the fans after his no-hitter and win in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay tips his cap to the crowd after throwing a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS. The Phillies, won 4-0. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Wilson Valdez takes a practice swing before batting practice prior to Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )
Shane Victorino will lead off for the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino prepares for batting practice prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins chats with hitting coach Greg Gross prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Right fielder Jayson Werth waits for his turn in the batting cage prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Catcher Carlos Ruiz and left fielder Raul Ibanez gather prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins meets with hitting coach Greg Gross prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
General manager Ruben Amaro and manager Charlie Manuel huddle at the batting cage prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Wilson Valdez, who will play third base for Placido Polanco in Game 1 of the NLDS, jogs around the bases before batting practice at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
From left to right, pitchers Roy Oswalt, Kyle Kendrick and Ryan Madson shag balls during batting practice before Game 1 of the NLDS versus the Cincinnati Reds. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Fans hang a sign in support of pitcher Roy Halladay before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Roy Oswalt, left, leaps for a ball hit to the outfield during batting practice before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. Pitcher Kyle Kendrick looks on during the play. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
An usher watches as the Phillies practice before Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Fans try to catch a foul ball hit by Carlos Ruiz during batting practice before Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
A fan holds a sign in support of Roy Halladay during batting practice at Citizens Bank Park before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Terri Johnson, left, and Mary Kobad, both of Schwecksville, Pa., laugh prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Bryen O'Boyle, lead singer for Mr. Greengenes, entertains the crowd prior to Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Dana Dilliplane and her father, Doug, of Pottstown attend Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Fans cheer as fireworks explode and the Phillies take the field for the start of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Fans stand for the playing of the National Anthem as both teams line the field before start of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Fans cheer the National Anthem as both teams line the field before the start of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
The Phillies are introduced before the start of the first game of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay's first pitch for Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay pitches in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay pitches in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
The Reds' Edinson Volquez pitches in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino steals third base in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS. The Reds' Scott Rolen is late with the tag. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay pitches in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Chase Utley drives in the first run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino slides home to score in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. ( David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Ryan Howard greets Shane Victorino, who scored the first run in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay's first pitch in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
The Reds' Edison Volquez pitches in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino scores on a sacrifice fly from Chase Utley in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino scores in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay gets set to make a pitch in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay throws the first pitch of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Reds starting pticher Edinson Volquez throws during the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Scott Rolen strikes out in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez and pitcher Edinson Volquez confer in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Catcher Carlos Ruiz is safe at second base, as Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips can not get to the ball in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz is safe at second base in the second inning on a Wilson Valdez single in Game 1 of the NLDS. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay helps himself with a RBI-single in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz celebrates scoring the first run of the second inning in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino claps his hands after hitting a two-RBI single in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay is greeted at the plate after scoring in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Pitcher Roy Halladay crosses the plate to score the fourth run of the game on a Shane Victorino single in the seocnd inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. Wilson Valdez and Chase Utley greet him. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Shane Victorino celebrates with Davey Lopes after driving in two runs in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Wilson Valdez points to a pop-up from Drew Stubbs in the third inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. ( Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
A Phillies fan struggles to stay dry in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Fans cover up from the rain during Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
A Conan blimp flies over Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
The Conan blimp flies above centerfield during the first game of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Orlando Cabrera strikes out for the second out of the fourth inning in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay continues his no-hitter in the fourth inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
The Reds' Scott Rolen exchanges words with umpire John Hirschbeck after striking out in the fifth inning of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay carries a no-hitter through eight innings of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Dusty Baker makes a visit to the mound in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay no-hits the Reds through eight innings of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay gets ready to pitch to the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips for the final out of Game 1 of the NLDS. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay throws the last pitch in his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz charges pitcher Roy Halladay to celebrate his no-hitter in the NLDS Game 1 win at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz celebrate Halladay's no-hitter win in Game 1 of the NLDS. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz and pitcher Roy Halladay celebrate his no-hitter in the win in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz celebrate after no-hitting the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay runs up to hug Carlos Ruiz after the last out in the ninth inning. Halladay pitched a no-hitter and the Phillies won, 4-0. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz gives Roy Halladay a hug after Halladay pitched a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS. The Phillies won, 4-0. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz and Roy Halladay celebrate Halladay's no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz and Roy Halladay celebrate Halladay's no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz celebrate the no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz celebrate the no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz hugs Halladay after the no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard celebrate with Roy Halladay after his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay celebrates his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz celebrate at the end of Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay hugs Brad Lidge after throwing a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Photo Gallery: Phillies 4, Reds 0 - Game 1 NLDS

Only after it was over, after Halladay put the finishing touch on his second no-no of the season and the Phillies beat the Reds, 4-0, in Game 1 of their National League Division Series, did the veteran crew chief realize the full magnitude of what he had been a part of.

"When we came in, I knew, of course, that it was a no-hitter. But they told me it had only happened one time in the postseason, with Don Larsen for a perfect game [in 1956]. So that made it even that much more exciting," he said.

Let's be honest, the umpires don't like thinking about what happened in June, when Jim Joyce, working first base, missed a call that cost Tigers starter Armando Galarraga a perfect game. But you can bet it had to cross their minds. They don't want to become part of the story.

Hirschbeck didn't. The only apparent disagreement came from Reds third baseman Scott Rolen after a called third strike in the fifth.

Hirschbeck said the only thing he focused on was trying to do everything the same as he would if it had been a midseason, 10-0 game between the Mariners and Royals.

"Just to remain calm," he said. "The higher the atmosphere gets and the more tense it gets, especially in playoff games, to bring myself down and just stay slow and try to do all the things you do normally. It's even harder, because you can't go with the atmosphere. So that's all I concentrated on.

"You know what's going on. I was aware of it. It was the fourth inning when I first noticed it. And then, as each inning goes on, you're not going to forget about it. I thought to myself, 'Wow, he's got really good stuff.' I didn't think it was going to end up the way it was, but I did think he had really good stuff."

Now John Hirschbeck and Babe Pinelli are the only home-plate umpires ever to call a postseason no-hitter. "It's kind of neat," Hirschbeck said.

Add umpires

The leftfield umpire when Don Larsen pitched his 2-0 perfect game over Brooklyn at Yankee Stadium 54 years ago tomorrow was Tom Gorman. Ed Runge worked the rightfield line.

Both have sons, Brian Gorman and Brian Runge, currently working as big-league umps.

The turning point

With the Phillies leading, 1-0, there were two outs and nobody on base when Cincinnati starter Edinson Volquez walked Carlos Ruiz on four pitches.

He could have survived that, though, when Wilson Valdez hit a grounder up the middle that was fielded by shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Except that Cabrera couldn't get the ball out of his glove, and both runners were safe.

That brought the pitcher to the plate. Volquez grooved a first-pitch fastball to Roy Halladay and the veteran jumped on it, lining an RBI single to left.

After that, the wheels fell off for Volquez. He walked Jimmy Rollins to load the bases, Shane Victorino singled to score two more runs, and Volquez was gone.

If the Reds had taken advantage of any of their three chances to stay within a run, maybe Volquez would have settled in and pitched a good game. Maybe Halladay, without an early cushion, wouldn't have been able to be quite as aggressive. Maybe he wouldn't have pitched a no-hitter. We'll never know, though, will we?
The second-guess

Reds manager Dusty Baker knows his team better than any outsiders. Still, you have to wonder whether he regrets his decision not to start rookie lefthander Travis Wood last night. Or at least in one of the games of the NLDS.

Wood pitched eight perfect innings against the Phillies at The Bank in July. But Baker explained that Wood’s inexperience and the fact that the Phillies have now seen him this year dictated a rotation of Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto.

The problem is that Volquez lasted only 1.2 innings and allowed four runs. Wood then came in and shut the Phillies out on one hit for 3.1 innings. You can’t assume he would have been equally effective if he had started. But you can at least wonder.

The stat

The Phillies scored four runs for Roy Halladay in the first two innings last night. That’s more than they scored in the entire game in 17 of his 33 regular-season starts.

Still more umpire stuff

Bruce Dreckman, who umpired his first big-league game in 1997, will be behind the plate for Game 2 tomorrow night. According to baseball-reference.com, both starting pitchers have done well in the past when he’s called balls and strikes.

Phillies righthander Roy Oswalt is 0-2 with three no-decisions with Dreckman, but has a 2.30 earned run average and has walked only three, with 29 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .295 against him.
Reds righthander Bronson Arroyo is 3-0, 2.49 in four games with a .189 opponent’s batting average.

Nailed

In a story in yesterday's Los Angeles Times former Phillies centerfielder Lenny Dykstra insists he's still emerging from the bankruptcy that has grounded his high-flying lifestyle. In the story, Dykstra acknowledged that before moving into a two-bedroom apartment in Westwood, Calif., last winter, he lived a hardscrabble existence for a while, including living in an airplane hangar and in his car.

“I was a wanderer, dude. I was like Gandhi. He lived out of a bag,” Dykstra is quoted as saying. The article also claims he’s several months behind in the rent on his apartment.

Paul Hagen, Daily News Sports Writer

Read full story: Paul Hagen's column on Roy Halladay's playoff no-hitter | From our archives