But claiming another signature moment Tuesday in what was a season full of them, Halladay could finally reflect. After the perfect game, all of the victories and complete games, then the postseason no-hitter, Halladay said there eventually would be a time for looking back.
Being named the unanimous winner of the NL Cy Young provided that.
"It's by far the most fun I've ever had playing this game," Halladay said.
He became the fourth Phillies pitcher to win the award and the first since Steve Bedrosian in 1987. Halladay won overwhelmingly, to no one's surprise, receiving all of the possible 32 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
He is just the fifth pitcher in history to win the Cy Young in both leagues, having won the American League award in 2003 with the Blue Jays. The seven-year gap between awards is the longest in history.
For winning the award, Halladay receives a $250,000 bonus.
"It was everything I'd hoped it would be," Halladay said. "I'm looking forward to trying to improve on it next year."
That will be a tall task. If anything, his going to Philadelphia simply reinforced what many around baseball knew: Halladay could very well be the best at his craft. In Toronto, he did the same things - planned intense workouts, finished more games started than anyone else, left teammates wide-eyed - but the attention wasn't near that of 2010.
After pitching the second postseason no-hitter in history, Halladay turned down invitations to appear on national TV shows. During the season, the interview requests were greater than ever, and Halladay refused most. On Monday, a day before being named the Cy Young winner, Halladay was revealed as the cover athlete for the 2K Sports video game Major League Baseball 2K11.
Incredibly, Halladay exceeded whatever expectations were set in December, when he was acquired from Toronto for three prospects, or in February, when he arrived daily at Bright House Field in Clearwater before any of his teammates and the rising sun.
"When you talk to him, you see he has an edge to himself," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He has a lot of confidence. The way he went about his business from Day 1. . . . This guy doesn't sit still. There's always something he's trying to do to get better. That's the amazing thing."
Halladay's 2.44 ERA was the lowest for a Phillies starter since 1992, when Curt Schilling had a 2.35 ERA. Halladay threw 2502/3 innings, more than any pitcher in the majors. He struck out 219 batters and walked 30. He led the majors in both complete games (nine) and shutouts (four).
The Phillies were successful in 2010, and Halladay had as big a part as anyone. The season began in April with seven stellar innings of Halladay in Washington and, 175 days later on the same mound, Halladay threw a complete-game shutout to clinch the Phillies' fourth straight NL East crown.
That night, Halladay skipped around the visitors' clubhouse at Nationals Park, spraying his teammates with champagne while wearing goggles and a wide smile on his face. It was a rare opportunity to see Halladay with his emotional guard down.
"This is the coolest thing I've been a part of," Halladay said that night.
Whenever Halladay took the mound, his teammates would echo those words. The possibility for something special always existed on those nights. A few times, history was made. Usually, Halladay was a dominant presence, one unparalleled in the National League.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb