Roy Halladay Will Play Baseball No Longer

The pitcher formerly (and currently) known as Roy Halladay retired on Monday, after shoulder and back injuries robbed him of the velocities and mechanics that he felt he needed to compete at a satisfactory level in Major League Baseball.

And really that’s what’s so notable about it, that “satisfactory” for the unstoppable pitching robot we called Doc was a higher bar than for others. It’s a fate we all know was inevitable, but even considering two last injury plagued years in Philadelphia, it still comes as a surprise that he actually did succumb to the limitations of mortal man.

He has a very solid case to be made a Hall of Famer, but it’s not airtight as Halladay hasn’t really compiled the counting legacy stats that Hall of Famers traditionally have, even though his career score by JAWS is pretty close to Hall of Fame averages. And while I’m sad to see him ride off into the sunset, I’m also somewhat glad to see him do it while the memory of his reign of fucking awesomeness is still fresh in my mind, rather than hang on for as many additional years he could as a washed up former great…even though it would probably help his Hall of Fame chances that much more. Too see Bartolo Colon still effective and in line for an eight-figure contract to play professional baseball in America this offseason (or even just alive even) past Roy Halladay’s retirement is something that boggles us all.

After the Blue Jays sent him back down to Single-A ball to rebuild his mechanics and make him better, stronger, faster, he returned to terrorize baseball’s best hitters for an entire decade – most of it while in the AL East, baseball’s toughest division. During his 10 year peak of dominance from 2002 to 2011

  • no one provided more value by WAR (fWAR of 60.9 and 62.4 rWAR)
  • only Mark Buehrle pitched more innings than him (although Halladay’s 2.97 ERA in only 10.1 fewer innings easily bests Buehrle’s 3.87 ERA)
  • only Johan Santana matched his 67 ERA- (although Halladay did that in over 400 more innings)
  • no one pitched more complete games (63 with CC Sabathia in second with 33)
  • no one pitched more shutouts (18 with Sabathia again a distant second with 12)

He was a lock, 30 times a year, to pitch well and to pitch a ton of innings. Every Halladay start had a good chance for him not just to pitch nine complete innings, but also to do it in under two hours in ruthlessly efficient fashion. And not that it means anything, but he also won the most games and had the best winning percentage during that time, despite playing for an undeservingly mediocre Blue Jays club that never once made the playoffs despite having baseball’s best pitcher descending from heaven above to smite the other team every fifth day for eight goddamn years.

And that’s the tragedy of it all. That Halladay could not win a championship here, and that he couldn’t win one in Philadelphia is something that both fanbases feel that their teams failed Halladay in, instead of the other way around. And for two fanbases and cities full of such ungrateful shitbags, the fact that Roy Halladay was never looked at in a way other than saint-like is a testament to how amazing, intimidating, and treasured he was. And how grateful we all were to have him.

We’ve had time to move on now, and while we have other more pressing and relevant concerns related to the Toronto Blue Jays to think about these days, it’s nice to take a moment and remember all the wonderful moments that come with being a baseball fan in Toronto, and specifically just how many of those moments are only possible through the infinite grace and glory of Roy Halladay. That he signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays as a symbolic gesture to retire with the team he started with is wonderful, if ultimately pointless. He was a Blue Jay and we would have claimed him as ours with or without his consent. Unlike the franchise greats before him that already have their names on the Level of Excellence like Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, Dave Stieb, or Tony Fernandez that were great during the glory years of the Toronto Blue Jays and key factors of the team’s success, we really only have Roy Halladay and Carlos Delgado to point to as bright spots during the last decade of mediocrity. And for that reason, they should be treasured even more.

There is something profoundly silly about investing so much into another grown man who gets paid millions and millions of dollars to play a game while wearing laundry that matches the colours of your particular city, and one day I might get wise enough to stop doing it.

But before that day comes, I am glad to have been a Toronto Blue Jays fan, and glader still that Roy Halladay played on my team.

I want the Phillies organization to know, I want the fans to know how much I enjoyed my time there. How much they meant to me, how much they meant to my family and what a major part of my career they were.

But 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.

One Comment

  1. […] typed up some words about Roy Halladay years ago when he retired, but I don’t really think it’s appropriate now to talk about his statistical […]



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