It was laughter mixed with many tears on Sunday as the MLB 2019 Hall of Fame class received their induction to Cooperstown. Four great ballplayers entered the Hall but only three were there to speak.
Roy Halladay, the Cy-Young winning pitcher, died in 2017 in a plane crash. His widow Brandy spoke on his behalf and received the cheers he earned through his heart, skill and insane work ethic.
Roy Halladay: Hall of Fame great, on & off the field
In an era where pitchers slowly wrestled control of the game back from hitters (the stricter drug policy helped), Doc Halladay was the workhorse who perfected his craft with the Toronto Blue Jays.
A trade to 2010 in Philadelphia meant a turn in the spotlight where he became the first man to throw a perfect game in the regular season and a no-hitter in the postseason, his first playoff start.
Despite only playing for the Phillies for four seasons, including two injury-marred seasons to end his career, Halladay epitomized the city of Philadelphia, and was beloved by fans, teammates, and coaches alike.
Roy Halladay was a workhorse starting pitcher in an era that saw pitchers throw less innings year by year. He was revered for his superhuman-like work ethic; both physically and mentally, on and off the field.
Halladay even outworked the hardest working guy in baseball and the most popular Philly athlete of all-time, Chase Utley.
Utley and Halladay quickly became close friends after Halladay was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies before the 2010 season.
Utley recalled his introduction to Halladay:
“I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45am on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said ‘No I just finished my workout.’ I knew right then — he was the real deal. Thank you Roy for allowing us to witness what it takes to be the best. We will all miss you.”
On several occasions, Utley even stated, “Halladay was the best teammate I’ve ever played with.”
“One of the great pleasures of my career was being able to play behind a man like Roy Halladay. He was fierce. He was competitive. He was focused. But, most of all, he was great. Not just a great player but also a great teammate and a great friend.”
Roy Halladay wasn’t just great, he’s a baseball GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). He was literally the best pitcher in all of baseball for over a decade. Put simply, Doc was one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation.
The Doc is in: Over A Decade of Domination
Halladay retired in 2013 with 203 wins over 16 seasons, eight All-Star games, a Cy Young in each league, and a reputation for dominating batters with his preparation and relentless toughness.
He led either the American or National League in 15 different categories, from wins and innings pitched to FIP and BB/9. Halladay led his league in complete games seven times, the most of any pitcher whose career started after World War II.
Halladay earned the Old West nickname of Doc because he was a throwback to guys like Nolan Ryan who glared opponents into submission and owned the edges of the plate. It also works because how surgical he was with the baseball. Every fifth day was a “Halladay” in Toronto and Philly when he took the ball.
A lot is made about his 2010 season with Philadelphia. Yeah he was great. I was there, it was sick.
It was really rough, he picked the start of the Stanley Cup Finals though to throw that perfect game. Lotta remotes got work across the Delaware Valley that night.
However, his last three years with the Blue Jays may have been the most challenging in terms of quality opponents. From 2007 to 2009, the AL East saw three different teams win the AL pennant, the only time that has happened in either league since MLB went to three divisions.
In those three seasons, Halladay went a combined 53-28 for the Jays, who were over .500 in two of those years but never finished better than third. He had 25 complete games in 97 starts and threw for over 710 innings.
That means he averaged over seven innings a start, which is incredible for three straight seasons against teams that featured the likes of Evan Longoria, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and others.
Halladay’s “Icing on the Cake”
Philadelphia is where Halladay became a legend. He joined a team that won consecutive pennants and featured perhaps the best lineup in Phillies history. His teammates helped him switch leagues with ease and win the NL Cy Young.
In just four years, Halladay became one of Philadelphia’s most beloved athletes. He embodied the city’s hard-working, humble mindset and was fairly nonplus about being one of the best in his field. Yeah, Philly fans are weird sometimes.
“Even more impressive was the way Roy carried himself off the field, always giving back not just to his teammates, but more so to his community.”
-John Middleton, Philadelphia Phillies Owner
After his career ended, he focused on his two sons and wife. Both of his sons want to play baseball like their dad. Not many people have lived as successfully and impact-fully as Roy Halladay.
Two years ago he entered the Phillies Wall of Fame to a sellout crowd and thunderous applause. Sunday, Halladay took his place among the immortals in Cooperstown. Many of his peers will join him in the coming years.