Roy Halladay. Born in Denver, Colorado. Made a legacy in both Toronto and Philadelphia. Tragically passed Tuesday afternoon in a plane crash. As a Canadian sports fan, this hits especially close to home. “Doc”, as he was known, was easily one of the top pitchers in Blue Jays history. His rookie season was in 1998, for the Blue Jays, but he broke out in 2002 with an All Star selection for the American League. He won 2 Cy Young Awards in his career, one in 2003 with the Jays. Halladay was beloved by not only Canadian, but all baseball fans. His dominance for 16 seasons was surely Hall of Fame worthy, and he likely will be inducted. He will also be a Blue Jays Hall of Famer and a member of the Level of Excellence. The franchise leader in wins touched baseball fans North of the border for 12 amazing years. Personally, he is one of my favourite players of all time. Despite being quite young when I watched him for the first time, he was one of the reasons I became a fan of my native country’s team. I think I speak for almost everyone when I say that words cannot describe how saddened the world is after the news of his passing. He was taken too soon, and may he rest in peace.
There is nothing said that has not been said already. Roy Halladay was a pitcher I knew would beat my beloved Yankees every single time he started. I was surprised to see him gone, I felt numb. He’s the kind of pitcher we will tell our grandchildren about. He’s a genuine legend, we will not see someone like him again. I cannot say so much, I have fond memories of the games Roy pitched in, one of my earliest baseball memories was him. He is the last pitcher of his kind, losing him means that a rare breed of pitcher is even more endangered.
I watched my first MLB game when I was about 7 years old. Like a lot of other kids, I was just flipping through channels, looking for something worthwhile to watch. Eventually, I eventually settled on some baseball game, and I was mystified by what I saw. Looking back, I don’t remember who the opposing pitcher was, or the opposing team, or the final score. I can’t even pinpoint the exact season when this game took place.
But what I can remember is some guy named Halladay, completely dominating the opposing lineup with a surgical precision that unmatched by the opposing pitchers. I remember the way the commentators raved about him, and the way the crowd appreciated his dominance. To be blunt, I was in awe.
Baseball has a reputation for just being some boring game where I’m from, but thanks in large part to Doc, I appreciate it’s beauty. His dominance was inspiring. I like to think of myself as having a decent handle on baseball analytics, and the first baseball-related strategy I can remember was both dependent on and usually executed because of Halladay’s dominance.
His trade from Toronto didn’t deter me appreciating his greatness any less than I did before either. I remember sitting in a Fatburger, watching Halladay’s threw playoff no hitter. I remember how important Halladay was to the otherwise mediocre Blue Jays teams of the 2000’s and the Phillies legion of aces in the early 2010’s. I remember pitching in the backyard, pretending to be Roy Halladay, dominating the imaginary opposition just as Halladay did in parts of 15 seasons.
Thanks for introducing baseball to my life Roy, your greatness will never be forgotten.
Featured Photo: Darren Calabrese-The Canadian Press