Roy Halladay was an extraordinary pitcher who played from 1998 to 2013 for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. His many accomplishments include a perfect game, two no-hitters in one season and winning two Cy Young awards – all of which led to him getting elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Halladay, who had the nickname “Doc,” also threw 67 complete games, 20 of which were shutouts. He is only the sixth pitcher to win the Cy Young award in both leagues.
Tragically, Halladay died in 2017 when his single-engine plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. He was only 40.
Roy Halladay’s Baseball Career
By any measure, Halladay ranked among the greatest pitchers of his time and among the greats from throughout baseball history.
A native of Denver, Colorado, Halladay was drafted out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his Major League Baseball debut against the Tampa Bay Rays (then called the Devil Rays) in September 1998. On his second start against the Detroit Tigers on the last day of the season, Halladay carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning but gave up a home run with two outs to Tigers pinch hitter Bobby Higginson.
It was a sign of things to come. Halladay experienced some control issues in his early years in the majors, but threw his first career shutout on May 20, 1999, against the Tigers. After a disappointing 2000, Halladay moved to Florida and sought help with both his mental approach and his pitching technique. It worked.
By 2002, Halladay was an All-Star. In 2003, he won his first Cy Young, going 22-7. He also was named to the All-Star team in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, all with the Blue Jays.
In 2010, he went to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he again was an All-Star and won his second Cy Young award. On May 29, he threw the 20th perfect game in baseball history against the Florida Marlins.
In Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, Halladay threw a no-hitter, only the second postseason no-hitter in baseball history. Don Larsen did it while pitching for the New York Yankees, throwing a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
With that game, Halladay became only the fifth pitcher to ever throw two no-hitters in one season, and the first in 37 years (Nolan Ryan did it while pitching for the California Angels in 1973).
Halladay in the Baseball Hall of Fame
In January 2019, Halladay was chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame. On the wishes of his family, his bust will not have a logo on the cap.
His No. 32 has been retired by the Blue Jays and he also has been inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Other highlights from his career include:
- He was the league leader in complete games seven times
- He was twice a league leader in wins
- He was four times the league leader in innings pitched
- He had eight 15-win seasons
- He had three 20-win seasons
Halladay was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era. His death at such a young age was tragic. But his contribution to the game of baseball will never be forgotten.