November 7, 2017 was an unexpected and devastating day across the baseball world. The 40-year-old, legendary right hander from Denver, Colorado named Roy Halladay, tragically passed away in a plane crash, leaving the nation in shock and despair. Although it has been well over a year since the incident, it still does not feel real, and Doc will always be remembered as a phenomenal talent taken from the world too soon.
In a bittersweet moment this past Tuesday, January 22, the Halladay family received a call from the BBWAA, stating that Doc had become a first ballot Hall of Famer. This one was not up for debate either, as Halladay trailed only Mariano Rivera for the highest percentage of votes (which was impossible to outdo). Now that the righty will forever live on in Cooperstown forever, it is only fitting that we commemorate one of the best pitchers to ever wear the Phillies pinstripes.
Remembering Doc With Toronto
While being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 17th pick and making his major league debut at 21 years old, a majority of his career was spent in Canada. He played in the Rogers Center until being traded in 2010 to Philadelphia, where he finished his career.
The beginning of his career was respectable by any spectrum. From his 1998 debuting season to 2001, he posted a 18-17 record, 235 strikeouts, three complete games and even a save from the bullpen. Halladay seemed to fill the role of a middle of the rotation pitcher, until the 2002 season propelled him into becoming one of the top pitchers in baseball.
In his first All Star Season of 2002, the Blue Jays began to dominate on the mound. He would go on to post a 19-7 record with a 2.93 ERA, 168 SO, 1.191 WHIP, and led the league in a HR9 of 0.4 and innings pitched with 239.1. This season began the greatest stretch of baseball for the 25-year-old starter, as he would make the All Star lineup in 6 of his next 8 seasons with the Jays.
Better yet, the following season of 2003, he dominated the entire league. Halladay led statistically in wins (22), complete games (9), shutouts (2), hits (253), and strike outs to walks (6.38). This phenomenal season would make his former breakout year look average, as he easily won the 2003 Cy Young Award.
In the stretch from 2003-2009, Halladay racked up huge numbers. Including a 111-52 record, 3.16 ERA, 44 complete games, 1,122 WHIP, and 1092 strikeouts. He had a phenomenal career with Toronto, that only lacked one key component: he had yet to throw an inning in the post season.
Remembering Doc in Philidelphia
In 2010 the Phillies would acquire the star and instantly extend his job requirement into October. With the NL East powerhouse entering the off-season after just coming short of back to back World Series Championships, Halladay was considered a juggernaut in an average at best rotation, which was a key to the team losing the series against New York. Although he was now in his 13th major league season, and he was already 33 years of age, some questioned the move. His immediate impact with the Phillies would make any negative comment about the signing a freezing cold take.
Halladay went on to lead the MLB in wins (21), complete games (9, for the fourth consecutive season), innings pitched (250.2), and posted the second lowest ERA of his career with a 2.44. What was even more spectacular than those mind-boggling stats were two starting appearances where he put his name in elite and rare company.
On May 29 of the season, Doc threw the game of his life, as he picked up yet another complete game shutout. This time, however, only took him 27 batters. That’s right, he threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history for the Phillies against the Florida Marlins, and became the 10th Phillies pitcher to throw a no-hitter. He fanned 11 in the historic performance, that seemed to be the best performance of his life. That would last without debate for the next few months.
As stated earlier in the article, Roy Halladay’s main objective of signing with the Phillies was to pitch when it matters most, in the post season. He finally got this chance in the 2010 season, and his first appearance, he did not disappoint. In Game 1 of the NLDS the Phillies hosted the Reds, where Doc made even more history. He threw just the second no-hitter in post season history in arguably the best single-game postseason pitching performance in MLB history, as the only blemish in the game would be one walk in the fifth inning. This proved the fact that prolonging “Doctober” until he was 33 should have been considered a crime. He would only have four more starts in the post season, as every series after the 2010 NLDS the Phillies did not advance.
He would win his second Cy Young Award, this time in the National League, which also added him to a list of storied players in the MLB. He would be the fifth player in Major League history to win the award in both leagues. Halladay would have one more All Star caliber season, then two more seasons to follow until he called it a career at 36 years old. Although only playing four years in Philadelphia, he was instantly accepted as one of their own, and will go down as one of the best arms to ever throw in Citizen’s Bank Park while wearing the home red and white.
Although both Blue Jay and Phillies fans bicker over which team he should be remembered with, the Halladay family has made it clear that his plaque will be designed without a logo on the cap. The baseball world will always miss Doc, but the Hall of Famer certainly left us with an abundance of positive memories.
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