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Roy Halladay elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Roy Halladay may go into the Hall with a Blue Jays cap, but he will always be remembered in Philadelphia for his fall heroics. (SD Dirk)

Doc is headed to baseball’s most prestigious club.

Roy Halladay has been officially elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Halladay will be the 108th player to be posthumously inducted into the Hall.

Halladay – or “Doc,” as he was affectionately referred to – was one of the greatest pitchers in the last two decades, if not the best. The towering 6’6″ pitcher struck fear into any batter that stepped up to the plate, while his competitive drive was unmatched.

Halladay attended Arvada High School in Colorado, and was drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995.

While Halladay was up and down in his first four seasons he the majors (he debuted in 1998), he finally found his footing in 2002, when he went 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA and 168 strikeouts in a league-leading 239.1 innings. The next season, Halladay won the American League Cy Young Award when he went 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA. That year, Halladay had nine complete games in 266.0 innings, the highest innings total of his career.

Halladay would go on to have an illustrious career in Toronto, with a record of 148-76 and a 3.43 ERA in an always challenging American League East. He would also go to six All-Star games while with the team. However, there was one thing that was just out of Halladay’s grasp with the Blue Jays. One thing that Toronto just couldn’t seem to get to during Halladay’s time there.

A playoff appearance.

Halladay yearned for the chance to play in the postseason. As early as the summer of 2009, Halladay made it clear to Toronto that he wanted the chance to compete for a World Series, which meant a trade. Halladay finally got his wish in December 2009, when he was traded to the Phillies in exchange for prospects Kyle Drabek, Travis D’Arnaud and Michael Taylor.

For the Phillies, Halladay may be best remembered for his 2010 season. The ace went 21-10 in 250.2 innings with a 2.44 ERA, an ERA+ of 163 (also the best in the league), nine complete games, four shutouts, 219 strikeouts and an 8.6 bWAR. Those stats earned him the National League Cy Young Award, joining Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Max Scherzer, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens as the only players to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

However, as hard as it is to believe, that’s not the biggest accomplishment Halladay had that year. Instead, that honor goes to the two-no hitters Halladay threw, the first of which (a perfect game) came against the (then) Florida Marlins in May of 2010:

The second no-hitter wasn’t done in the regular season, but the postseason against the Cincinnati Reds in the divisional series. It was Halladay’s first career postseason appearance. It was only the second no-hitter in postseason history, the first belonging to Don Larsen. The then 33-year-old had finally gotten his wish to play in October, and he delivered. Thus, “Doctober” had gripped the city:

Halladay’s terrific game would help the Phillies go on to sweep the Reds in three games. Although the Phillies would eventually lose to the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series, Halladay made the 2010 playoffs a memorable one for both the Phillies and Major League history.

Halladay spent the rest of his career with the Phillies, going 55-29 with a 3.25 ERA with 622 strikeouts will making two All-Star games. 2011 was statistically better than 2010 was for Halladay, as the pitcher threw for a career-low 2.35 ERA, while also leading the league in FIP (2.20) and posting a career-high SO/9 (8.5). Halladay finished second behind Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the Cy Young Award race. Halladay would return to the playoffs that year, along with an incredible pitching staff that included Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Vance Worley. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Halladay would finish his postseason career with a record of 3-2 in five games (38.0 innings), with a 2.37 ERA and 35 strikeouts (8.3 SO/9).

Halladay struggled with injuries and inconsistencies over the next two years. He ended his fantastic career after the 2013 season.

The list of accolades Halladay accumulated over the course of his career is lengthy. In addition to his two Cy Young Awards, Halladay finished second in Cy Young Award voting twice, and third in Cy Young Award voting once. Halladay also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice. He was an eight-time All-Star.

Halladay finished his career with a record of 203-105 with an ERA of 3.38, 2,117 strikeouts, a 1.178 WHIP, 6.9 SO/9, a bWAR of 65.5 and a 3.39 FIP in 2,749.1 innings (416 games, 390 games started). Halladay’s ability to go late into games was one of his trademarks, as he finished with 67 complete games and 20 shutouts, leading the league in complete games seven times and leading the league in shutouts four times.

After retiring, Halladay continued to assist the Phillies organization, appearing as a guest instructor in spring training in 2014. Given his post-career proximity to Clearwater, he also had begun to work with some of the youngest pitchers in the Phillies organization in 2017.

Sadly, Halladay passed away in November 2017 in a plane crash. He was 40 years old. Halladay was survived by his two sons and his wife, and left a legacy that will live on forever. The Blue Jays and Phillies both honored Halladay, with Toronto retiring Halladay’s No. 32, while the Phillies put Halladay on their Wall of Fame this past season.

Halladay was revered among his fellow players in the majors. Toronto second baseman Devon Travis discussed Roy Halladay in a New York Times article, saying that Halladay “wasn’t afraid of anyone,” and that he wouldn’t wanted to have faced him. Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (per The Morning Call) called Halladay the “best competitor” he had ever seen, and that Halladay was “a great person and a tremendous father.”

In the New York Times article, former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons (who coached Halladay from 2004 to 2008) discussed what it was like managing the ace, saying it was “always a battle” when trying to take him out of the game.

Many other players had similar sentiments about the Hall of Famer, such as former second baseman Chase Utley, who played with Halladay throughout his tenure here in Philadelphia. “I saw I saw everyday what it took to be a man among boys,” Utley told the AP News.

Former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez, who played with Halladay in 2010 and 2011, also offered some thoughts in the AP News article.

“He tried to be the best that he could be. Full of passion and desire,” Ibanez said. “He was not a one-dimensional man. Who he was, everything about him was just great and grace. He carried himself with class and confidence and humility. Just a tremendous human being.”

The induction ceremony for the newly announced Hall of Fame class will take place on July 21 in Cooperstown. Among the other players that were elected were Mariano Rivera (2.21 ERA, 652 saves, 1173 strikeouts), Edgar Martinez (.312, 309 home runs, 1261 RBIs) and Mike Mussina (3.68 ERA, 270-153, 2813 strikeouts). Harold Baines and Lee Smith had previously been announced as part of the Class of 2019 after they were elected by the Today’s Game Committee.

While Halladay spent only four years in Philadelphia, most fans will certainly tell you it felt like he was here for a lifetime. Halladay’s talent, energy and love for the game fit right at home with the City of Brotherly Love, and now he will take his place in the Hall among other great Philadelphia pitchers such as Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton and Jim Bunning.


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