JOHN HIRSCHBECK REMINISCES ON MLB PLAYOFF NO-HITTER
It is Oct. 6, 2010, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Phillies are facing the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of a best‑of‑five NL Division Series. Roy Halladay is pitching for Philadelphia and John Hirschbeck is umpiring home plate.
Hirschbeck can tell early in the game that Halladay has his best stuff. But he doesn’t realize that Halladay is pitching a no‑hitter until he looks at the scoreboard after the fifth inning.
Hirschbeck, now 64 and still spending summers in North Lima, Ohio, says he doesn’t feel any extra pressure because of the possible no‑hitter. He believes he is having a good game, too. “I was seeing the ball well,” he says.
The drama of a playoff provides all the pressure Hirschbeck needs to be sharp. “There’s a difference between a spring training game and a regular‑season game, and a regular‑season game and a playoff game,” he says. “Everything gets turned up a little bit. You try not to get amped up with the crowd.”
Halladay’s chance at a perfect game ends when Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce walks in the fifth inning on a 3‑2 pitch. It is the Reds’ only baserunner of the game.
The Reds’ Brandon Phillips is the final batter in the ninth inning. He hits a tapper in front of the plate. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz fields the ball and throws out Phillips at first.
“I was prepared to call interference,” says Hirschbeck. “(Phillips) ran out of the 45‑foot lane on the infield grass.” But Ruiz makes the play on Phillips. No need to make the interference call. The Phillies win, 4‑0. The no‑hitter is only the second in playoff history, joining the perfect game the Yankees’ Don Larsen threw in the 1956 World Series. Halladay throws 25 of 28 first‑pitch strikes and 104 pitches total. The game is completed in a delightful two hours and 34 minutes.