This story, condensed from its original form, first appeared in February 2017. At the time, Chris Coghlan was in Phillies spring training camp as a non-roster player. He offered a glimpse at Roy Halladay’s May 2010 perfect game from an opponent’s perspective.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Chris Coghlan still gets his Irish up when he thinks about the game.
It was May 29, 2010.
The night Roy Halladay pitched his perfect game against the Marlins in Miami.
Phillies fans remember it well. In the 11th start of his first season with the club, Halladay sliced through the Marlins' lineup on 115 pitches in 2 hours and 13 minutes. He struck out 11. It was thrilling.
But not for Coghlan.
He had a slightly different perspective. He was the Marlins' leadoff batter that night and in six pitches became Halladay's first strikeout victim.
The moment still burns.
"Big strike zone that night," Coghlan said, his eyes widening. "Go back and look at it. I was leading off, 3-2, ball off the plate, strike three. I still get chapped about it. Go look at it. It could have been totally different."
Editor's note: See for yourself. That called strike three comes at the 10-second mark of this clip. In the seventh inning, at the 3:25 mark, Coghlan clearly shows frustration after being rung up again by home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.
Coghlan was 24 and in his second season in the majors the night Halladay threw his perfect game in a 1-0 Phillies win. He had been the National League Rookie of the Year the previous season.
"Those teams were awesome," he said. "I loved hitting against them because it was the best of the best. You had Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels. You had Brad Lidge closing it out.
"Chooch Ruiz, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard. Those guys were great and then Utley was my favorite player coming up. Second baseman. Left-handed hitter. Great swing. I loved his intensity.
"I loved playing against those guys. And we played them tough. That happens with a young team — you get up for the big boys but don't always carry that focus through to the other teams."
Coghlan and his Marlins teammates were totally up for Halladay on that memorable night of May 29, 2010. They were focused, ready for the big boys. But there was no beating the Phillies ace that night.
No runs. No hits. No errors.
It still burns Coghlan.
"Oh, everybody loves it except for the guys it's happening against," Coghlan said. "I had some buddies at the game and afterward they were like, 'Bro, that was awesome. I can't believe I saw that. I'm saving this ticket.' And I'm like, 'You're in the family room, bro, and you're ticking me off. We just got embarrassed. You can find your own ride home. I'm not giving you a ride.'"
Standing in the Phillies' clubhouse in Clearwater, Coghlan began to laugh as he talked about his buddies' reaction to witnessing Halladay's perfect game.
And then he completely softened and tipped his cap to Halladay.
"I joke about the zone that night," Coghlan said. "But I would never diminish anything that man did. To pitch a perfect game, everything has to go perfect and it did for him that night.
"I saw him throw his last pitch in Miami before he hung it up in 2013. He had that one inning. He came out throwing 80 miles an hour and it was sad. He was a legend."