By Gerard Lombardo – @wickedlinedrive
I’m not one to turn to for succor. Blame it on a distrust for society, childhood trauma, or military PTSD, but I’m the last person my friends turn to for compassion. That said, yesterday’s death of Roy Halladay stung… just a bit. The eight time All Star won’t be forgotten in the baseball world, but he will be revered.
When Harry Leroy Halladay was 24 years old, his career took a turn no major leaguer wants to partake in: a demotion… to A-ball. Those are the consequences (at least it was in the early 00’s) to procuring an era over 10. But he persevered, returned to the big league Blue Jays the following season, and within two short seasons, was named the 2003 AL Cy Young recipient. How? He worked his damn ass off, is how. 36 starts, 9 complete games, 266 arm numbing innings toeing the rubber, and a ridiculous 1,071 batters faced is the result of applying a bit of elbow grease to your God given talents. What nobody knew, was that Doc was just getting warmed up. Between 2002-2011, he was one of baseballs top hurlers, despite facing juiced up sluggers in the vaunted offenses of the American & National League Easts. I can’t even begin to list the massive amounts of awards he rightfully took home, but here’s a taste nonetheless:
2x Cy Young
2x league leader in wins
4x player of the month
4x innings pitched champion
4x shutout extraordinaire
7x leader in complete games
2003 leader in starts
2008 WHIP leader
2010 WAR Lord (8.3)
How’s that for a resume? And the best part, the Denver native never even cracked the $21M mark. The Phillies gave him 60 over the final 3 years of their pact, but you’re talking about incredulous value here. Meanwhile, in Boston, one Rick Porcello just slapped 17 losses on the table for ownership to sulk over, despite earning himself 21 mil.
The 6’6″ 1st round draft selection was a man, through and through; fortunately, some how, Boston had his number, as he managed only a 14-15 record versus. Luckily, Doc took care of the rest of the division for us: 50-22 with 12 complete games against the O’s, Yanks and Rays eased the Sox’s burden in an effort to manufacture division banners for Fenway’s glory. He had no real holes in his game, and in a time where strikeouts bring home the bacon, Doc could two seam, split and cut a fastball as good as anybody – resulting in a lot of work for the infielders, but a career average of 0.8 home runs per 9. Basically, that’s saying on any given outing, even if a complete game is on the menu, you’re not taking the guy deep. With the home runs, juiced balls and advanced scouting that the sport now fancies, his acumen may never be replicated.
At forty years young, Roy Halladay, the owner of 67 complete games and over 2,700 innings pitched left us too soon, and in a terrible, saddening fashion. The baseball world has been jarred, just a bit, but the former major league ace will be fondly remembered as a big game pitcher, with an even bigger stature.