Baseball Hall of Fame 2019: Roy Halladay will rightfully get into Cooperstown with ease on his first ballot
The late, great Halladay might even top 90 percent
Next week, Roy Halladay is going to be named a newly elected member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and he's probably going to be a big leap above the 75 percent threshold needed for enshrinement. Tragically, he won't be on hand for the ceremony this summer, as the baseball world and more importantly his family and friends lost him to an aircraft accident on Nov. 7, 2017.
With him gone, we should be embracing the memory of his baseball legacy and, boy, is it an impressive one.
Let's run it down.
In 416 career games, 390 of which were starts, Halladay was 203-105. In 2,749 1/3 innings, he pitched to a 3.38 ERA (131 ERA+) and 1.18 WHIP. He struck out 2,117 while issuing just 564 unintentional walks.
It was a lot more than that, though, wasn't it?
Halladay was the personification of what we think of when we talk about elite-level ace intimidation. Just picturing him standing on the mound with that sturdy 6-foot-6 frame staring at the plate had to send chills down the spine of opposing hitters, who he routinely made look stupid. Ask the 2010 Reds, who became the second team in postseason history to be no-hit, this one at the hands of Halladay. Perhaps the best part of that was it was Halladay's first career playoff start. Nerves? Pressure? Please, not for Roy Halladay.
Not getting a World Series ring is probably the only box of Halladay's Hall of Fame resume where he doesn't have a check mark. Still, it's never been a requirement in this team sport (Ted Williams says hi) and it wasn't like it was Halladay's fault. In five postseason starts, he pitched to a 2.37 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 35 strikeouts against four unintentional walks in 38 innings.
Lots of Hall of Fame candidates are all over the top-10 seasonal leaderboards, but Halladay was actually in the No. 1 slot a bunch. He led the majors in wins twice. He led the league in complete games seven times and shutouts four times. He led in innings four times. He topped the league in ERA+, FIP and WHIP once apiece. He led the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio five times. He was in the top spot for pitcher WAR four times.
Among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched, Halladay ranks 20th in winning percentage, 42nd in WAR, 25th in strikeout-to-walk, 40th in ERA+ and 15th in win probability added ().
Halladay took the Cy Young in 2003 for the Blue Jays and 2010 for the Phillies, joining Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Max Scherzer as the only pitchers to ever win the award in both leagues. He was a unanimous selection in 2010. He also finished as the runner-up twice and in third place once.
In the regular season, Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history on May 29, 2010.
Shoulder issues forced Halladay into retirement probably a few years early, so his counting stats don't really pop, but who really cares? The peak was overwhelming enough to merit the Hall.
From 2002-11, Halladay went 170-75 with a 2.97 ERA (148 ERA+) and 1.11 WHIP. His average season -- prorated to a full season as to account for 2004-05 injuries -- was 20-9, 2.97 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 191 strikeouts, 39 unintentional walks, eight complete games and three shutouts in 246 innings with 7.1 WAR. That's a full 10 years of pitching at a Cy Young-winning level.
I generally hate the "you just know" point of view, because there are plenty of players in the Hall of Fame who weren't a "you just know" type of player. What we had in Roy "Doc" Halladay was just that, though. Watching him pitch, you knew you were watching a Hall of Famer. There really wasn't even much question. He was The Man every time he stepped on that mound for a decade. No one who saw him pitch will ever forget what it was like to watch sheer greatness every time he toed the slab.
Halladay will be rightfully enshrined into the Hall of Fame this coming summer. It's a shame he won't be there, but we can honor him by remembering just how great he was and passing it along to the next generation of fans.
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