Jays From the Couch remembers Toronto Blue Jays Legend Roy “Doc” Halladay after his tragic passing
The baseball world is in mourning today. We lost our beloved Doc. As a Blue Jay fan, the tragic passing of Roy Halladay will have a ripple effect that I’m sure will continue on for a very long time. Not only did we lose a phenomenal pitcher, but we lost a remarkable and humble human being. He was something special indeed. He was a quiet man whose love for family and his faith were always his driving force. He didn’t have to say much when he stepped on that mound; the world knew what he wanted to say. He was the sole reason my heart fell in love with baseball all over again.
Watching his craft and love for the game unfold with every pitch kept me captivated. He was more than a Cy Young pitcher, he was more than an Ace – Roy was Toronto’s silver lining through the darker days of the Blue Jays seasons. His devotion to the game was undeniable. His work ethic was nothing that I had ever seen before. He was often the first one to clock in and the last one to check out. Without saying very much, he was capable of saying everything. It’s hard to write about Roy Halladay without discussing his career stats and his many accomplishments, that to this day, very few pitchers have been able to match.
To say that the bar was set high would be an understatement. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round of the 1995 MLB June Amateur Draft from Arvada West High School, in Colorado. His debut was on September 20, 1998 at the tender age of 21 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched five innings, allowing eight hits but only 2 earned runs with an impressive five strikeouts. He exceeded all rookie expectations, continued to work hard, and he never looked back. He was voted into the All-Star game six times throughout his career, and was awarded the Cy Young award two times in his career, both with the American League and the National League seven years apart from each other; that in itself is something extraordinary. He was a workhorse, averaging 172.1 innings per season with a very respectable 3.38 ERA., pitching a no-hitter and a perfect game in 2010. He was a leader and marched to the beat of his own drum.
Roy had instantly won the hearts of all Blue Jay fans with his love and intensity for the game. He showed us his appreciation for this city. After serving as our hero on the mound for twelve seasons, Halladay parted ways to begin a new chapter with the Philadelphia Phillies. It was bittersweet for me. As much as I wanted to be selfish and have him retire a Blue Jay, I knew that he deserved a chance to be on a contending team, and at that time, Philadelphia had the team to get him there. To my delight, he did make it to the postseason, a feat that was well deserved. Unfortunately, he never got to the World Series, but he managed to pitch his way into Philly fans’ hearts regardless. For his first two years on Philadelphia’s club, he brought them to October with high hopes, and being the leader that he was, he never lost sight of his mission.
Doc hung up his glove and cleats in 2013, leaving the game on a high note, just as he entered it. It saddens me that he would have been up for Hall of Fame consideration in 2019. Even though his name may have been first on the ballot, it is disheartening to know that he won’t be around to see his many accomplishments celebrated and out on display for the baseball world to see.
This article should not only be about Roy’s accomplishments or how he had a personal impact on my love for the game, but it should serve as a tribute to his life and unforgettable career as a Toronto Blue Jay. My fellow writers here at Jays from the Couch expressed a flood of emotion and pride when talking about Roy and I would like to share some of those sentiments with you. If it wasn’t apparent before just how important he was to Jays fans, reading their reactions will definitely give you an understanding of what Doc truly meant to the entire baseball world.
“My fondest memory of Roy Halladay was on October 5th, 2001. My brother and I got tickets to a Friday night doubleheader against Cleveland, with the first game starting at 5pm. There were maybe 5,000 fans. The Dome was so quiet that I could hear the lights buzzing. Fortunately, none of that mattered because Doc was starting. Three batters at a time, Halladay cut through Cleveland’s lineup. Around the fourth inning, I started to get that feeling that maybe I’d get to see some history in person. Three up, three down. Three up, three down. Over and over. Unfortunately, the game’s 24th batter (Travis Fryman) singled, ending Halladay’s bid for a perfect game. He ended up with a complete game, two-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory. No walks. 83 pitches. 1 hour, 51 minutes.
The game encapsulated Halladay’s time with the Blue Jays—giving fans a good time at the ballpark, even if the team itself wasn’t great and the stadium was at its most cavernous. When he finally threw his perfect game in 2010 with the Phillies, every Jays fan shared the moment with him.
Thanks for the memories Doc.”
“Roy Halladay is the Blue Jays. He, like many iconic players both before and after him, have become synonymous with the Jays. For me, Doc is the one that would pull me back in when I was too self absorbed for baseball, his name would invoke a longing for the lazy days of summer, for a hotdog with mustard, for a great day of ball. Roy Halladay was like a call to the game. Thank you for that Doc.
“Doc provided the Toronto Blue Jays fanbase with a reason to tune into the game every 5th day. Doc was a bright light for a franchise with close to two decades of 3rd and 4th place finished.
In letting the front office know of his intentions of testing free agency with zero chance of re-signing, he gave the franchise which drafted him a chance to build for the future.
To me this act represents the class and professionalism that we will always link to the name Doc Halladay.”
“There was a time where many people forgot about the World Series glory years. The Blue Jays were mired in the J.P. Ricciardi years and the only relevancy they experienced was at the hands of Roy Halladay. He was the only reason people paid attention to baseball being played in Toronto. People will often forget just how bad the teams he played on were, which makes his time in Toronto that much more special. The guy threw more complete games than most teams. He was a work horse and a professional. He was what every player should strive to be. I can’t think of a single person that fans actually wanted traded so he could win a championship. They loved the player more than their own team.
In this day and age, professional athletes and celebrities that are role models are harder and harder to find. The world lost one in Roy Halladay.”
“For years, Halladay was the rock on some really bad Blue Jays teams. The one thing fans could hold on to with any real consistency. Yeah, the rest of the team would likely struggle, but every fifth game, it was time to party, because Doc was going to fix things up.
I still remember when he burst onto the scene when he had that almost no-hitter against the Tigers. It was brutal to see Bobby Higginson put that ninth-inning pitch into the bleachers. But it didn’t matter because Halladay went out their and gritted his way into that ninth and almost pulled it off.
That’s why it was so tough to see him struggle so bad the next season. Bad enough that he was banished back to Dunedin to work things out. But he did. He rebuilt himself, added movement to his pitches and rose like a phoenix through the farm system to emerge dominant on the other side.
Watching him pitch was a treat. He could make the best hitters look foolish. Every time I loaded up MVP Baseball 2005, no matter what, I had to get Doc on my team so I could use that full arsenal he had on unsuspecting virtual batters. That cutter/sinker was nasty.
Then when he was traded to the Phillies in 2010, I couldn’t feel sadness. I could only feel joy that Doc was finally going to get a chance to play on the big stage. I remember watching that first game against the Reds, waiting to see what Doc would do with the lights on him. He didn’t disappoint with the second post-season no-hitter in history. He had his forever moment in the spotlight and it was glorious.
The outpouring of personal stories and tales of kindness coming forth make me even sadder that the Doc was taken from this world way too soon, but it also makes me happy that he was possibly an even-better person off the field than he was on it. An amazing feat, and one that I really hope is passed on to the next generation. For while Doc Halladay’s guns are forever holstered, his legend deserves to live on.”
As I sit here reflecting and remembering a legend and a champion, it breaks my heart to have to say goodbye to my hero. Although he is gone, he will forever be the most important and influential pitcher in Blue Jays history. Thank you Roy Halladay for capturing my heart and for making me fall in love with the game that I couldn’t possibly live without.
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*Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison Under CC BY-SA 2.0
Daniella is a long time Toronto resident and life long, die hard Toronto Blue Jays fan. As a follower of all things baseball, Daniella is an avid MLB watcher and enjoys debating and analyzing all aspects of the game with her fellow baseball fans and pundits. When not consuming baseball, Daniella enjoys travelling and spending time with her family and three dogs. Follow her on Twitter @AlwaysRidePine and Facebook http://facebook.com/ridepine.