Staying away from the Hall of Fame discussion, (which by the way I think he is a Hall of Famer) I found some interesting similarities between Halladay's career numbers and that of former Mets RHP Dwight Gooden. A couple issues are the fact that they pitched during different times; Gooden started his career when complete games were still the norm and Halladay pitched his entire career in the steroid era. I will throw their stats out and see what we get when we get to the other side.
Halladay finished with a 203-105 record, while Gooden finished at 194-112. Halladay gets the higher win total, less losses and the higher win percentage (.659-.634). To me, the most interesting stat is the fact that Halladay pitched to a lower ERA (3.38-3.51) than Gooden pitching in hitter friendly generation and in the American League as opposed to the NL. Because of the times they pitched, Gooden pitched more innings (2800 2/3-2749 1/3) but gave up only slightly more hits (1091-1034), less HR (210-236) and but Gooden, in spite of the innings difference, only finished his career slightly ahead of Halladay in strikeouts (2293-2117).
Gooden threw 68 CG while Halladay had 67 and Gooden had 24 shutouts to Halladay's 20, nearly identical totals. Halladay surrendered 238 HR to Gooden's 210 and it was Gooden who had the advantage in hits/9 IP (8.2-8.7), HR/9 IP (0.7-0.8) and Ks/9IP (7.4-6.9). But this is where I draw the line. Halladay was one of the premium control pitchers of his generation, walking just 592 over the course of his 16 year career. Gooden, by the way, finished his 16 years with 954 BB. Halladay averaged 1.9 BB/9 IP to Gooden's 3.1. This allowed Halladay to finish with the lower WHIP (1.178-1.256).
Halladay had to battle through some injuries towards the beginning of his career. It also took him a while to establish himself as a top pitcher. Gooden, of course, was well on his way until a cocaine problem destroyed his career. Based on the 16 years each pitcher pitched, it is safe to say that each pitcher had 8 complete seasons where they were at the top of their game. Judging by their best seasons, I used Halladay's 2002-2007 and 2008-2011 and Gooden's 1984-1988, 1990, 1992-1993 as the basis of comparison. As expected, Halladay is again victorious. In their 8 best seasons, Halladay was 150-63, while Gooden was 132-62. Though both had outstanding winning percentages during that timeframe, Halladay's was .704 while Gooden's was .680. Halladay pitched in 255 games, 254 starts while Gooden pitched in 252 games, all starts. Halladay finished with 1920 innings, while Gooden had 1820. Halladay gave up 1809 hits and walked 624 while Gooden gave up 1571 hits and walked 533. Halladay had a slight edge in WHIP 1.106-1.156. Gooden had 1585 Ks during his span, while Halladay had 1496 in his, still closer than one might think. Halladay had a 2.93 ERA while Gooden had a 2.99 ERA, once again, closer than one might think. Halladay had 57 CGs and 15 SHO. Gooden had 66 CG and 22 SHO.
It is interesting to see how similar both pitchers were through their top 8 seasons. Even the career numbers are worthy of some comparison. But the fact of the matter is, Halladay was one of the best of his generation while Gooden did not keep it going long enough. Gooden's first two seasons saw him lead the league in wins, ERA, complete games, innings pitched, ERA+, WHIP, hits/9IP, HRs/9, Ks/9IP once and strikeouts both seasons. However, after that, Gooden only had one stat that ever led the league in one season and that was HRs/ 9 IP in 1990, ONCE! Halladay led the league in wins twice, winning percentage once, complete games 7 times, shutouts 4 times, innings pitched 4 seasons, batters faced three times, ERA+ once, WHIP once, HRs/9IP once, BBs/9IP 3 times and SO/BB 5 times. Halladay was also a 3 time Cy Young Award winner and finished in the top 3 other times. I was a huge fan of Dwight Gooden growing up, but even I have to admit, Halladay was the better pitcher. I expect Halladay to do much better in the Hall of Fame voting than Gooden's 3.3% in his first year of eligibility.