n November 7, the baseball world lost an icon. Roy Halladay (Doc Halladay), who won multiple Cy Young awards as a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies, passed away in a fatal plane accident in the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40 years old. He is survived by his wife, Brandy, and their two children.
Roy Halladay was undoubtedly one of the most definitive pitchers of the 2000s, and he is certainly considered an all-time great.
His professional baseball career began when he was drafted by Toronto with the 17th overall pick in 1995 draft. After a disappointing start to his career, he was in and out of the minors until his breakout season in 2001.
In 2002, he had an even better year, posting an ERA of 2.93 and a record of 19-7 in addition to a spot on the American League All-Star team. From there, Halladay would battle some injuries, including a broken leg he sustained from a line drive. It wasn’t until 2005 that he would return for a full season with Toronto.
Doc was known for his stamina, specifically his ability to pitch complete or near-complete games. He led the League in complete games in 2007 with nine and finished second in the Cy Young voting behind Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee.
In 2010, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for several minor league prospects. In Philly, Doc blossomed fully, as he had one of the best seasons of his career in 2010. He threw two no-hitters that year, a feat that had last been accomplished by the legendary Nolan Ryan in 1973.
His first no-hitter was actually a perfect game against the Miami Marlins, in which he struck out 11 batters. After the game, Halladay purchased engraved watches for all his teammates with the inscription “We did it together. Thanks, Roy Halladay.”
As any fan of baseball would tell you, Roy Halladay was a freak of nature on the mound. I remember the series between the Phillies and the Giants in the 2010 National League Championship Series, especially the pitching matchup of Doc versus Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.
Nothing scared me more during that series as a Giants fan than watching Roy take the mound. His two-seam fastball was simply vicious, as it would move and shimmy down into the bottom of the zone, while maintaining a breakneck velocity of 90 mph or more.
His cutter was the most lethal in the League at the time, coming in at an average speed of 91.1 mph. Since these two pitches were so similar in speed, it was nearly impossible to read the motion of the ball. Roy would either throw his two-seam just out of the zone and make you miss badly or freeze you with a cutter in the zone.
Lincecum and Halladay battled in Games 1 and 5, with Tim taking the first game and Roy taking the fifth. Even though the Giants were able to push past the Phillies in six games with incredible pitching depth and solid hitting, Doc’s performance was stellar.
After another stint on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, Halladay signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013, so he could retire with the team that drafted him. He retired to Florida to live with his wife and kids.
Halladay was an avid pilot, largely because his father was a commercial pilot when he was growing up. He was piloting a new amphibious aircraft from the ICON company by himself when he crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.
Video taken by a nearby witness shows his plane bobbing up and down very close to the water. While there is much speculation as to whether or not Halladay was showboating when he crashed, there is little evidence to support this as the National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release their preliminary report on the crash.
Doc Halladay was a great ball player and was consistently described as one of the most upstanding men in baseball. His death has resonated throughout the baseball community and the world, with many coming forward to offer their condolences and support to his family and friends. Baseball will remember him very fondly. God bless you Roy Halladay, may you rest in peace.