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Roy Halladay and Don Larsen: A World Series Game Is Not a Playoff Game

Enough is enough. There is no comparison between Roy Halladay and Don Larsen. The former is on his way to the Hall of Fame. The latter was a journeyman pitcher who caught lightning in a bottle.

Larsen faced the National League's defending World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Brooklyn had won 98 games and lost 55 for a .641 winning percentage.

Roy Halladay faced the National League Central Division champion Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 2010 playoffs. Cincinnati won 91 games while losing 71 for a .562 winning percentage.

Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Reds in the opening game of the playoff series, missing a perfect game when he walked Jay Bruce with one out in the fifth inning. Halladay was not facing the best team in the league. He was facing a division winner.

Don Larsen was facing the best team in the National League in the World Series. There were no playoffs in 1956, so how could Roy Halladay have pitched the second no-hitter in playoff history?

The playoffs started in 1969. Roy Halladay pitched the first no-hitter in playoff history. Don Larsen pitched the only no-hitter and perfect game in World Series history. They are not the same.

Until the playoffs were initiated, the term "postseason" was not used. Each league had a pennant winner, and they met to determine the World Champion. The first goal was to win the pennant, and the second goal was to win the World Series.

Today, most teams consider making the playoffs a successful season. The Reds made the 2010 playoffs, and despite not winning a single game once they got to the playoffs, players and fans consider it to have been a successful season.

Would the 1975 Cincinnati Reds of Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Tony Perez have considered it to have been a successful season if they had lost the playoffs to the Pittsburgh Pirates?

In 1954, the New York Yankees won 103 games, which was the most they won under Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel. The most games they won during their streak of five consecutive pennants and World Championships was 99 in 1953.

The Yankees problem that season was that the Cleveland Indians won an American League-record 111 games. The Yankees and their fans considered 1954 an unsuccessful season.

Under today's playoff system, mediocre teams often qualify for the playoffs. It is recognized that upsets occur, but it cannot be denied that in most cases, the better teams usually win.

Of course it is possible for a pitcher to pitch a no-hitter or even a perfect game in the first or second round of the playoffs and have faced the soon-to-be pennant winner, but it must be (and will not be) recognized that the playoffs and the World Series are not the same. Today, they are all considered playoff games. What a joke.

Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in the history of the World Series. Roy Halladay pitched the only no-hitter in the history of the playoffs. Both are great achievements, but they are not the same.

Reference: Retrosheet

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