When Roy Halladay arrived in Philadelphia, he was a man of mystery, in a sense. Many understood he was the best pitcher in the game and had seen him play, albeit very little, as he was tucked away in the bowels of the AL East, tossing complete games left and right for a Blue Jays team that struggled to find average behind the Red Sox and Yankees, and more recently, the Rays.
With him came a workout that surpassed all others, one that few others dared to match because it involved waking up before 5 a.m. to complete it.
Those within the organization noticed Halladay was machine-like in his routines; one of those who noticed was Cole Hamels. In an article by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, which is a nice read about the legend of Doc, Hamels gushed about the work ethic of his rotation mate.
“If you don’t want to be like him,” Hamels said, “you just don’t want to be successful. The guy is constantly going. I think I can hold my own running with him. But he’s so focused and determined. He made a workout feel like a workout. You see guys work out and take breaks and talk and socialize. That’s not working out. He made me grasp that even more. Don’t take that break. Keep going. Keep going. Because that’s what it takes. I saw it, I just didn’t understand it. And once you follow him, you feel really great in the end, because you’re worn out and tired as hell.”
The 2008 World Series MVP award secured it for us — Cole Hamels was going to be a damn good pitcher. But would he have reached his awesome potential and found the pot of gold last season in the form of a $144 million deal without Halladay having been his teammate?
Hamels’ 2009 season was one of little luck, but also one that spun out of control because of a shortened offseason following the World Series. Fans in Philly, prematurely, wondered if Hamels would ever “get it.” He did, but it certainly helped that Halladay was there, pushing him along the way.
Hamels worked with “performance specialist” Jim Brogan before Halladay arrived. But his game, and routine, went next-level with Halladay in the fold for the 2010 season. Hamels read “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” by Harvey Dorfman, the same book Halladay used to hone his skills when things went awry early in his career.
Perhaps it’s just coincidence that Hamels’ career rounded back into form when Halladay became a Phillie. But if you believe what Hamels has said, Halladay has been a great help to his career. And the organization is better for it.