Why Roy Halladay Should Be Immortalized as a Blue Jay
The late Roy Halladay is finally going to be cherished in Cooperstown as he attained an 84.5% vote this week to make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I use the word “finally” very gently here because it was his first time on the ballot but it feels like he’s belonged in the Hall since he retired. Now I can decisively say that I’ve had the fortune of seeing a Hall of Fame Blue Jay. Unfortunately, the two-time Cy-Young award winner won’t be able to celebrate his induction as he passed away in November of 2017. His wife, Brandy, however, made a statement on the family’s behalf saying how proud and excited Halladay would have been to get the nod:
Being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is every boy's dream. To stand on that stage in Cooperstown and deliver your acceptance speech in front of baseball's most enthusiastic fans is something that every baseball player aspires to achieve, and Roy was no exception. But that was not Roy's goal. It was not his goal to have those three letters after his signature. His goal was to be successful every single day of his 16-year career.
Tonight's announcement is the end result of that effort. If only Roy were here to personally express his gratitude for this honor, what an even more amazing day this would be. I would like to extend special thanks to the baseball writers for the overwhelming percentage of votes that Roy received in his first year on the ballot. It means so much to me, Braden and Ryan.
Halladay only ever played for two teams in his career, the Toronto Blue Jays (12 years) and the Philadephia Phillies (4 years). He was dominant with both teams and contributed substantially to their cultures. By all accounts, he was a modest and lovable All-Star who never took anything for granted. Ever since his retirement, it was well known that Doc was going to be honoured by Baseball, it was just a matter of when. Who Halladay would represent was something that was questioned by many; was he going to wear a Jays cap or was it going to be the Phillies? Brandy Halladay, the person that knew him better than anyone, answered that question in a subdued way choosing that he goes in with no logo. She explained by saying “There’s no way to decide between the two teams, and I know we’ve spent the majority of our time in Toronto. Toronto gave us that chance, that base at the start, but Philly also gave us a chance to win and the passion that we wanted, and there’s no way to choose and so we decided that he’ll go in with no team.”
The decision is a respectable one, and by no means am I trying to undermine Brandy, but for argument's sake let’s look at why he should be immortalized as a Jay.
1. He Started His Career and Grew Up a Jay
This argument holds no merit if Halladay plays here four, maybe five years. The reality, however, is that he was here for ¾ of his 16-year career signing three new contracts with the team. After the Jays drafted him 17th overall in the 1995 draft, Doc struggled to get his career off the ground until he finally broke out in 2002 after the Jays took time to help him turn himself around. If it hadn’t been for a failed attempt at building a winning team, Halladay probably would have stayed in Toronto for his entire career.
2. He Retired As A Blue Jay
When Halladay retired in 2013, he approached the Jays seeking a one day contract so he could retire as a member of Canada’s team. He did it because of the impact the Jays organization had on him, saying “to me the biggest thing was had I not been fortunate enough to come up with the Blue Jays and have the people around me that I did and have the people develop me that I did I would've never had that chance.” He was even given the opportunity to come back and coach for the team if he ever felt the need to do so. During his time in and around baseball, it was obvious he always wanted to be remembered as a Blue Jay.
3. He Said He Would Like To Go Into The Hall of Fame a Jay
While celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Blue Jays in 2016, Halladay was asked by Shi Davidi which team he’d like to go in with. His answer, “I’d go in as a Blue Jay.” Is this a definitive answer to which team his Hall of Fame plaque should represent? No. Maybe it was simply a comment he made under pressure of the Toronto media. However, Doc wasn’t one to let media or the moment get to him.
Batters faced, 6 all-star appearances and 1 Cy-Young award. That’s not his entire career it’s just his time with the Blue Jays.
Halladay would have been a borderline Hall of Famer if you just looked at his stats as a Blue Jay. However, I believe he would have gotten in just based on his lengthy stretch of dominance through the 2000s.
Obviously, none of this really matters anymore but I do truly believe that if Doc was here today, he’d have made the decision to be the second player ever to represent the Blue Jays in Cooperstown. He was able to make the ugliest of jerseys respectable and single-handedly established an unforgettable era of Blue Jays baseball. His career bloomed into something amazing as a Jay and his only reason for leaving was the unfortunate missed-signings from the front office. Although he had playoff success in Philadelphia (threw a no-hitter in his first playoff start), he’ll always be remembered for his extraordinary time in Toronto.
Doc Halladay might not be going into the Hall of Fame as a Blue Jay but it sure as hell feels like he is.