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The late Roy Halladay: Dominant Pitcher, Family Man, and now, Hall of Famer

The late “Doc” Halladay enters the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In 16 seasons with the Blue Jays and Phillies, Halladay accumulated a 203-105 record and a 3.38 ERA.

On a day when the baseball world should feel plenty of joy, there was a somber mood in parts of the community. One of the most celebrated pitcher’s of the 2000s, Roy Halladay, died in 2017 as a result of a plane crash. Retiring before then, Halladay left behind a legacy that many only dream of attaining. Now, the world can celebrate those accomplishments while remembering the career of the eight-time All-Star.

Roy Halladay was chosen to be a member of this year’s MLB Hall of Fame class of 2019. With 85.4% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, Halladay joins Mariano Rivera (the first unanimous inductee), Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez as the latest occupants of Cooperstown. Halladay is the first person to be inducted posthumously since Roberto Clemente in 1973.

Halladay’s family, including his son Braden, a pitcher himself,  appreciated everything his dad did for his family and the game of baseball.

The career of Halladay is a fascinating one. In over 16 seasons he accumulated a 203-105 record and a 3.38 ERA. He also had 2,117 strikeouts. It was the first twelve years of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays where he started off, and it wasn’t pretty at first. After posting a 3.92 ERA as a rookie in 1999, Halladay posted an ugly 10.64 ERA in 2000 with four victories. He was sent down to the minors to fix his command and came back to the team in 2001. While he wasn’t the best, it was a vast improvement, with a  5-3 record and a 3.16 ERA. It wasn’t until after when he truly found his groove.

In 2002 he became a first-time All-Star with a 19-7 record and 2.93 ERA in 34 games while striking out 168 batters. The next year, Halladay proved that he was the hot commodity the Blue Jays picked in the first round (17th overall) in the 1995 MLB Draft. He went 22-7 with 204 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA. His nine complete games and two shutouts helped him win the AL Cy Young. From there, the legend of Halladay grew.

While the Blue Jays were not a playoff team during his run, Halladay still had some memorable seasons. He landed in the top five in the Cy Young race for four years straight. It wasn’t until he was traded to the Phillies (fun fact: Travis d’Arnaud was a key piece in that deal) where Halladay had his platform to shine. Two years removed from a World Series win, the Phillies had one of the best rotations in baseball with Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt leading the way. Halladay’s first year with the Phillies was magical; 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA while striking out 219. He was sixth in MVP voting and won the Cy Young for the second time in his career.

While he had a 19-6 record the year after, injuries caught up to Halladay, and he started to struggle in 2012 and 2013. He retired after posting a 6.82 ERA in 13 games. Nobody will ever forget, however, the man who threw 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. Two shining moments for him occurred during the 2010 season. In the span of a few months, Halladay threw a perfect game against the then Florida Marlins and pitched a no-hitter in the NLDS against the Reds. The latter, in front of a global audience, showed just how special Halladay was.

*In regards to the NLDS no-hitter: As a young kid in high school, I stayed home on October 6, 2010, just to watch the playoffs. With Halladay pitching, you knew you were in for a show. Little did I know, inning by inning, history was about to be made. By the 6th inning, everything was starting to make sense, and by the 8th, you couldn’t look away. Witnessing the masterpiece take shape from beginning to end like a painting was something else.*

“It’s well-deserved,” stated Hamels on MLB Network after the announcement. “Just to understand the character he really had and what he meant to baseball — he was by far the greatest pitcher for 10 years.”

“Doc” Halladay always cared about the integrity of the game, and he played to prove a point. That is what made him the best there was throughout his run. Whether he goes in as a member of the Phillies or the Blue Jays is not really the point (he will most likely go in as the latter). He didn’t reach 300 wins or garner 3,000 strikeouts, but even today that is rare. The legend of Roy Halladay will live on forever, as Cooperstown welcomes the late pitcher with open arms.

Sports to many can be a chore, especially baseball. To Halladay, it was a way of life that he cherished. That is what makes a hall of famer.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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