The Legacy of Roy “Doc” Halladay

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The Doc is IN — Cooperstown that is. 

Roy “Doc” Halladay finally accompanies the other greats of the game in the Hall of Fame. He joins former Toronto Blue Jays in Cooperstown such as Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar, Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro, Rickey Henderson, and Jack Morris. After a 16 year career, Halladay possesses a resume of 2 Cy Young Awards, 2 no-hitters (1 in the playoffs), and 8 All-Star selections. 

The Legacy of Roy “Doc” Halladay

One of the Greats

Every Hall of Famer has something that sets themselves apart from the rest, and Halladay was no different. The main thing that set him apart was his workhorse mentality. Halladay led the league in most complete games thrown in 8 of his 16 seasons, and also led the league four times in innings pitched. He allowed his bullpen to take the night off when he started. Over his 16 year career, Halladay threw 67 complete games. In an era where pitchers only go five or six innings, this is something that can’t be overlooked. The two active pitchers with the most complete games are CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez. In their 34 combined seasons, they have only managed to throw 63 complete games. Halladay was able to throw more complete games in less than half of that time. 

In his twelve seasons in Toronto, Halladay was one of the most exciting things to see on some mediocre Blue Jays teams. He received the nickname “Doc” from former Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek. It was in honor of Doc Holliday, the Texas gunslinger — a way in which Halladay threw. Even from the beginning of his career, Halladay amazed the Toronto faithful. In his second career start, he held the Detroit Tigers to a complete game one-hitter. It would take him 12 years to throw his first no-hitter against the Florida Marlins. When Halladay took the mound, everyone knew they were in for a good pitching performance. 

What’s crazy to think is that this Hall of Fame career almost didn’t happen. Halladay started the 2001 season down in Single-A to gain some confidence and control, as well as change his delivery. He could have quit or requested a trade, but that wasn’t the Halladay we knew. He had the power and control, along with the toughness that it took for him to come back to the Blue Jays better than ever. Just two years later, Halladay went on to win his first Cy Young. He is a symbol of adversity, someone who doesn’t wear their heart on their sleeve, and that’s why fans appreciated him. 

Closing the Book on a Remarkable Career

It truly is a shame that Halladay was never able to win a World Series in either Toronto or Philadelphia. Had his back injuries not gotten in the way, there’s a possibility that he could still be pitching today at the age of 42. On December 9, 2013, Halladay signed a one-day contract as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, ending his major league career. Following his career, Halladay kept a quiet lifestyle with his wife Brandy and kids Braden and Ryan (Braden being drafted by the Blue Jays in 2019). Unfortunately, in 2017 Halladay died in a plane crash over the Gulf of Mexico at the young age of 40. His death sent echoes across the baseball world. 

As Halladay enters Cooperstown this season, it’s quite disappointing that he wasn’t alive to see it. Regardless, he has etched himself among baseball’s best for all eternity. While it will be some time until another Blue Jay player makes the Hall again, this is still something Blue Jays fans should celebrate. As someone who grew up watching Halladay, he leaves a legacy that is unlike any other. I’m proud to have been alive to witness it all, and he is someone I will never forget. May he rest in peace.

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