Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Roy Halladay's legacy with the Phillies


Halladay was a big part of the Phillies success since signing with them


Roy Halladay may have retired as a Blue Jay a few days ago, but his legacy as a Phillies pitcher will be remembered for a long time by the many Phillies fans that were able to see him pitch here in Philadelphia.

Halladay's career was something special, pitchers like him aren't seen in the major leagues very often. Roy Halladay was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the 1995 amateur draft and Roy made his debut on September 20, 1998 for the Blue Jays as a 21-year-old pitcher. Halladay pitched 14 innings and had a 1.93 ERA to start off his major league career in two games.

It was a promising start for Halladay, the next year he put in a full season with the Blue Jays and started 18 games for them, Halladay appeared in 36 games overall in his first full major league season. Roy finished with an 8-7 record with a 3.92 ERA.

In the year 2000 Halladay struggled as a 23-year-old pitcher he only pitched 67 innings and finished up with a 10.64 ERA. That would hardly be the type of season that would make you think that Roy Halladay would win a Cy Young Award in just three seasons from that point. That is exactly what happened to Halladay though, and in 2003 Roy finished up with a 22-7 record and pitched an astonishing 266 innings to win the Cy Young Award for 2003.

Despite winning the Cy Young Award just the year before though Halladay fell back to earth the following year and finished up with an 8-8 record, in 2004 with a 4.20 ERA and 133.0 innings pitched. Halladay slowly regained his prominence with the Blue Jays over the next five years he would stay with them.

We have to remember that Halladay was in the AL East and facing some of the toughest batters on the Yankees and on the Boston Red Sox for most of his career, those two teams practically owned the AL East during the years that Halladay pitched most against them.

The Blue Jays were a team that did win it all in 1993, but during Halladay's years in Toronto, the best finish they were able to do was a second place finish in 2006 in the AL East. The Blue Jays never even made the playoffs the whole time Roy Halladay pitched for them. Halladay thirsted for the chance to appear in the playoffs and postseason. That is what led him to come to Philadelphia, which by the time he was ready to leave Toronto the Phillies were commanding the National League East and had just won the World Series in 2008.

Halladay could have probably signed for more money somewhere else he didn't necessarily have to come to Philadelphia but the mood back just after 2008 and 2009 was one that the Phillies would be winning and in contention to win for the next several years and that's what led Halladay on his path to Philadelphia. The Phillies assembled possibly the highest caliber rotation that's been seen in the major leagues in years in the 2010 season.

The 2010 season was one that Phillies fans will remember for a long time they hadn't seen a Cy Young award winner on the team for many years, the last Cy Young Award winner for the Phillies was Steve Carlton, Carlton won the coveted pitching award four times in his career and the last time he won it with the Phillies was in 1982 when Carlton pitched an incredible 23-10 in 283.0 IP. Roy Halladay would bring that feeling back to the Phillies as he won the Cy Young Award in 2010.

That wasn't all that Halladay would do in just his first season with the Phillies. Roy Halladay would do something that Phillies fans haven't seen in years, in 46 years to be precise and that of course would be a perfect game. The last Phillies pitcher to pitch one was Jim Bunning in 1964 for the Father's Day game June 21, 1964, that season was Bunnings first season with the Phillies as well. Roy Halladay started the game on May 29th 2010 for the Phillies against the Miami Marlins who were then called the Florida Marlins. Halladay retired all 27 batters with no runs, no hits and no errors. He struck out 11 batters before the 25,086 fans at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

It was only the 10th no-hitter in Phillies history (only the 2nd perfect game in Phils history) and the 20th perfect game in MLB history. The difference between a Perfect Game and a no-hitter, is with a perfect game, no batter can reach a base during the game by either a walk or an error, or hit by pitch. A pitcher can still pitch a no-hitter if a walk or walks are issued or if a fielder makes an error allowing a base runner to reach base. The perfect game is one of the rarest occurrences in baseball.

Halladay wouldn't be finished with the season that was perhaps his best ever as a professional. After all it was Halladay's first season with the Phillies and the first season in the playoffs as the Phillies faced the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the playoffs. It was Game 1 in the NL Division series, on Wednesday, October 6, 2010.

"I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the postseason. To go out there and have a game like that it's like a dream come true." That is what Halladay said after pitching a no-hitter in the playoffs, just the 2nd time that a pitcher has ever done that feat. Halladay came to Philadelphia to make the postseason and 2010 was perhaps one of the best seasons for him, and his pitching career. According to some latest odds info from Mobile MLB Odds, the Phillies may still not make the playoffs with or without him in 2014. The Phillies could have brought Halladay back for another chance, but the recent announcement nullifies that idea.

The Phillies lost a chance to three-peat back to the World Series in 2010 by losing to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS in 6 games, the Phils did manage to come back and win the NL East in 2011 but failed in the playoffs and ever since the team has been sliding down a slope in regards to regaining the prominence that they've seen for perhaps one of the best streaks ever in franchise history and Roy Halladay contributed to that even though his intended realization of winning a World Series championship with the team never came through.

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