Roy Halladay was elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America today. It was his first year on the ballot for baseball’s highest honor.
Halladay’s name was checked off on 85.4% of the ballots. He will be part of a Hall of Fame class with Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, and Edgar Martinez. Harold Baines and Lee Smith will be part of this years class as they were elected by the ‘Today’s Game’ committee in December.
Halladay was one of Major League Baseball’s most dominant pitchers during his 16-year career. He won 203 games against only 105 losses, for a stunning .659 winning percentage. He led the league in wins twice, innings pitched four times. He was known as a workhorse and the kind of guy you could count on day in and day out, leading the league in innings pitched four times, complete games seven times, and shutouts four times. He led the league in starts with 36 in 2003, when he completed nine games, including two shutouts. He won the Cy Young award for the American League that season while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto was Halladay’s home for most of his major league career. He pitched there from 1998 until he was traded to the Phillies in December of 2009 after the Phillies lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees. He was traded for Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabeck, and Michal Taylor. Drabeck was the centerpiece of the trade from Toronto’s perspective. He would go on to win eight games in five seasons for the Blue Jays.
It did not take long for Halladay to become a fan favorite and folk hero in the city of Philadelphia. At the age of 33, he would win his second Cy Young award in his first season with the Phillies. That year he led the league in wins, complete games, shutouts, and innings pitched. He had an ERA of 2.44 and struck out 219 batters with only 30 walks. It was almost news when he threw a pitch outside the strike zone that season.
On May 29th of that 2010 season, he threw the 20th perfect game in Major League history against the Florida Marlins. He struck out 11 batters in one of the most well-pitched games in baseball’s history.
On October 6th, 2010 in the first postseason appearance of his career he threw a No-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. It was only the second no-hitter in postseason history, along with Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees. It was the first time in Major League history a player threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season.
He was so dominant that he won every single first-place vote on the Cy Young ballot that year. It’s hard to imagine a pitcher having a better season.
The following season he wasn’t quite as dominant, but still finished second in the Cy young voting and had an amazing season. He would pitch in Philadelphia for four total seasons before retiring at the age of 36.
Few athletes have left their mark as quickly and as indelibly on the city of Philadelphia as Roy Halladay. Known as a warm and funny guy, the city fell in love with him. Perhaps none quite as much as the famous blog I want to go to the Zoo with Roy Halladay. The irreverent blog started not long after Halladay’s arrival in the city, and seemed more than anyone to capture the city’s love of the ballplayer. The blog ended not long after Halladay’s tragic death in a plane crash in November of 2017. It’s worth reading the archives of the site to really get a feel for the love affair the city had with the pitcher.
It will be a sad and bittersweet day this July when his plaque is unveiled and the speech is given in his honor in the small New York hamlet of Cooperstown where the Hall itself resides. He will likely be inducted as a Blue Jay, but in the hearts and minds of the city of Philadelphia, he will always be a Phillie.
Congratulations and Rest In Peace, Roy. We loved you and we miss you. No one has ever deserved this honor more than you.