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On Tuesday night Roy Halladay along with Yankee great Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, and DH Edgar Martinez were inducted into the baseball hall of fame. Halladay received over 85 votes second to Rivera who became the first unanimous baseball hall of famer.
Halladay being a first balloter wasn't a big surprise considering he was one of the most dominant pitchers in his era. Halladay had 9 seasons of 16 wins or more. Halladay had six seasons in the top five in wins while leading the league in wins twice (2003, 2010). What's more impressive is that Halladay had five seasons ranking in the top 5 in win percentage. Not too bad considering the majority of that was with a subpar Blue Jay's team.
Halladay was automatic when he was on the mound. He had four 200 strikeout seasons, all four seasons ranked in the top three in strikeouts. The Doc led the league in innings pitched four times and in both the American and National leagues, and had eight seasons in which he led the league in complete games. His stamina was on a higher level. Halladay was the staple of the team and was the face of the Jay's franchise for so many years.
According to baseball- almanac.com, Halladay started in 10 consecutive home openers which is tied for the fourth-longest streak in history. He never complained about not making the playoffs and loved playing here in Toronto. Being a Blue Jay's fan you just couldn't help but fall in love with Halladay, he was must-see every time he went on the mound. Watching him pitch at the dome was always a treat to witness. Numerous times going to see Halladay pitch there was a different feeling in the air at the Rogers Centre. Facing top teams in the AL East the Jay's usually struggled but Roy Halladay was the exception. Against the Yankees, he was 18-6 with an ERA south of 3. Although against Boston he wasn't exactly his dominant self posting a 14-15. Every time he was on the mound it didn't matter what team he was facing, if Halladay was pitching on that day you knew you had a chance to win.
When Halladay got traded to the Phillies it was tough to see him go. Not seeing Halladay wearing a Jay's uniform just didn't feel right but I still cheered him on through and through. Halladay continued to dominate his in the NL. The Doc became the 5th pitcher to win the CY Young in both leagues and posted a perfect game and a no-hitter in the postseason that same year in 2010. I remember watching Doc that postseason and just being in awe. That postseason no-hitter he threw back in 2010 was so incredible, and it was only the second time in MLB history that a no-hitter happened in the postseason.
Halladay wasn't getting a lot of attention in Toronto, playing on a non-playoff team that was outside of the United States. In Philly Halladay was getting more exposure and was the talk of the baseball world. People were actually noticing just how good he was. Despite not winning a championship, watching him finally pitch in the playoffs was a long time coming. Even though at times it was a little hard seeing him accomplish other big feats while dawning the Phillies uniform.
Every time I look back on Halladay's career, I keep having these what-if scenarios in my head. What if Jay's management had a team like they built a few seasons back during Halladay's prime? What if the AL East wasn't so hard to compete in? What if the second wild card was brought in during the mid-2000s where the Jay's were winning close to 90 games. So many things that could have been different. It's difficult not to dwell on it because a pitcher of Halladay's caliber is few in far between. The Jay's just weren't good enough to take Halladay to the next level.
When news broke out about Halladay's tragic death I was shocked just like the rest of the baseball world. My heart felt like it was sinking out of my body. I remember my girlfriend asking me why was I so sad and I had to explain to her that he was one of my childhood idols. Going to so many Jay's games when he was pitching, it felt like it was yesterday seeing him play and mow down batters, tipping his hat to the crowd in appreciation. It was a tough day that's for sure. I was mostly silent for the rest of the day wondering what led to his death at the young age of 40. I kept watching tribute videos of him on social media as people were pouring out there favourite highlights of Doc's hall of fame career. As great as it was watching those highlights and bringing back memories of his playing days it was tough under those circumstances. Every time I go to the dome to watch the Jays play I'd look at the wall of excellence and reminiscent when I see his name up there.
It's great to see Halladay get the recognition he deserves on a bigger scale. At times he seemed to be overlooked during his career, especially in Toronto. Halladay was a great player on the field and hearing from former managers and players he was an even better person off the field. Being a mentor to many pitchers and not letting his ego get too big. He was the example of how a player should carry himself. Halladay was a humble and grateful guy, he didn't want the attention and never bashed any of his teammates. He took responsibility every time we throwing on the mound not making excuses. He was the true professional. Halladay's name will forever be in with other great players, taken his rightful place into Cooperstown.