The Case for ‘Doc’ Halladay

Friday, July 6, 2018

Later this month, on July 27th, an unusually large class will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Those who will be enshrined this year include players Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Alan Trammel and Jack Morris.

Next year’s class will be voted on in a few months, and there is one first year candidate who will be the latest candidate to become the very first candidate to ever be selected by 100 % of the voters of the Baseball Writers Association of America: former Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera. Since no one has ever polled 100%, it’s quite unlikely that “Mo” will be the first, though I’m certain that he will receive much more than the required 75% vote. His outstanding credentials include the following : He is the all-time saves leader with 652; he was a 13-time All-Star and five-time Top five finisher in Cy Young Award voting; In 96 postseason games,Rivera posted 8-1 record with 42 saves and a 0.70 ERA; and he won the 1999 World Series MVP, the 2003 ALCS MVP and 2013 All-Star Game MVP.

Who will join him for induction in July 2019?

There are not really any other “sure fire” new candidates next year. Among the other new eligibles are hitters Lance Berkman, Todd Helton, Michael Young and Miguel Tejada - all fine players, and among their franchise’s all-time greats. None of them,though, IMHO, are first ballot Hall of Famers.

Among the first-time candidates who were pitchers, Rivera’s long-time Yankees teammate, left hander Andy Pettite, who finished in Top six in Cy Young Award voting five times en route to 256 wins in 18 seasons with the Yankees and Astros, was named to three All-Star teams, and never posted a losing record at the big league level. Pettite went 19-11 with a 3.81 ERA in 44 postseason starts, setting a record for postseason victories.

I think Pettite may eventually be elected to the Hall, but probably not the first time out. His admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs may delay things a bit.

There is another first-time eligible pitcher, however, who I feel deserves serious consideration - perhaps even to join Rivera as a 2019 inductee. That is Roy Halladay. Though he wasn’t a flashy, big name hurler, Halladay has some pretty impressive credentials. To wit, he was a two-time Cy Young Award winner (one of the few who won the award in both the AL and NL) and eight-time All-Star. A three-time 20-game winner, Halladay led his league in victories twice, complete games seven times, shutouts four times and innings pitched four times and in addition to his two Cy Young wins, he finished second in Cy Young Award voting two other seasons; he became just the second pitcher in history to throw a post-season no-hitter when he blanked the Reds on Oct. 6, 2010 in Game 1 of the NLDS. He had thrown a perfect game earlier that season, making him one of a very small group to have two “no-nos” in one season; and he is one of only six pitchers whose careers began in 1900 or later with at least 200 wins and a .650 winning percentage.

Halladay, who retired after the 2013 season, lost his life tragically in late 2017 when the small plane he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Though he wasn’t flying a relief mission like Roberto Clemente was at the time of his fatal plane crash, Halladay was very active in the community during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays, so some voters might consider his tragic death a “positive” when they cast their votes for the Hall. Of course, that didn’t “help” the llate THurman Munson, who I feel is one of the most grievous omissions from Hall enshrinement.

Hallday’s career record by itself is pretty Hall-worthy, but I feel his chances for election are probably better now than they will be later, and, in fact, his chances may well decrease each year after this, especially depending upon the quality of any new candidates who will appear on future ballots.

If I were a voter, I would vote for Roy Halladay in 2019.