Roy Halladay

From BR Bullpen


Harry Leroy Halladay III

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2019

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Toronto will forever hold a special place in my heart. The memories will last a lifetime and so will my gratitude." Roy Halladay's closing statement in his farewell letter to the Toronto fans in December 2009

Halladay in the road-game (away) grey uniform while playing for Toronto.

Pitcher Roy Halladay spent his first 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and later played for the Philadelphia Phillies. He set the Blue Jays' season record for wins in 2003.

As a child, he played American Legion, Babe Ruth and Little League baseball. He graduated from Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colorado in 1995 where he played baseball and basketball. He was a first team All-Conference and All-State selection for three years and named League and State MVP two years. He also was also a member of the second All-State team in basketball. The Blue Jays selected him in the first round of the 1995 amateur draft, 17th overall. The scout was Chris Bourjos.

Halladay made his debut in 1995 with the GCL Blue Jays, going 3-5 (.375) with a 3.40 ERA in 10 games and 50 1/3 innings pitched. In 1996 with Dunedin in the Florida State League, he went 15-7 (.682) over 27 games and 164 2/3 innings. His ERA was 2.73. Doc split 1997 between Knoxville in the Southern League and Syracuse in the International League. In his 7 games in Knoxville, he was 2-3 (.400) with a 5.40 ERA over 36 2/3 innings. In Syracuse, he appeared in 22 games with 125 2/3 innings, with a 7-10 record (.412) and a 4.58 ERA.

1998 saw Halladay pitch again in Syracuse, appearing in 21 games with 116 1/3 innings, and going 9-5 (.643) with a 3.79 ERA. He was called up to play with the big boys at the end of the season, pitching 14 innings over 2 games for the Blue Jays, 1-0 (1.000) and a 1.93 ERA. In his second start, he won a 2-1 complete game one-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on September 27; the lone hit was a solo home run by Bobby Higginson with two outs in the 9th inning. In 1999, Halladay spent the entire season pitching for Toronto, appearing in 36 games and 149 1/3 innings, going 8-7 and registering the only save of his career. His ERA was 3.92.

As the new millennium started, Doc split his time in 2000 between Syracuse and Toronto. With the parent club, Doc pitched 19 games and went 4-7 over 67 2/3 innings. He put up a dismal 10.64 ERA, one of the worst ever for a pitcher with more than 10 starts. That bout of poor pitching earned him a ticket back to the International League, where he pitched 11 games with Syracuse, going 73 2/3 innings with a 2-3 record and an ERA of 5.50.

Doc moved around a bit between the farm clubs and the parent club in 2001, as he tried to regain the form that had made him one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. That year he pitched in Dunedin, Tennessee, Syracuse and Toronto. He was 0-1 with Dunedin in 13 games over 22 2/3 innings with a 3.97 ERA and 2 saves. He appeared in only 5 games with Tennessee, going 34 innings with a 2-1 record and a 2.12 ERA. In Syracuse, he pitched in 2 games and 14 innings, 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA. As he had demonstrated that he was himself once again, he made it back to Toronto, where he pitched in 17 games, 105 1/3 innings, 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA.

For the next few years, the Doc stood firm with the Blue Jays. He pitched 34 games in 2002, logging 239 1/3 innings with a 19-7 record and 2.93 ERA. In 2003, he won the AL Cy Young Award, going 22-7 (.759), pitching in 36 games and 266 innings with a 3.25 ERA. In 2004, he only appeared in 21 games with Toronto, going on the disabled list from May 28 to June 12, and again from July 17 to September 21. He did pitch 133 innings, going 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA. He started 2005 on fire, going 12-5, 2.41, in 19 starts but was injured in a game against the Texas Rangers on July 8th and missed the remainder of the season. He came back with four consecutive outstanding seasons with the Jays, winning between 16 and 20 games with excellent winning percentages and ERAs between 2006 and 2009. He finished in the top 5 in the Cy Young Award vote each year. Overall, he was named to the All-Star team 6 times during his stay in Toronto. On April 13, 2007, he became the last pitcher to pitch a complete game of more than 9 innings, when he went 10 innings in a 2-1 win; he was already the last pitcher to have pulled off the feat in the American League, as he had previously done so in 2003.

Around the 2009 All-Star Game, trade rumors started swirling around Halladay, as the Jays, who had started the year extremely well, were in a tailspin. General Manager J.P. Ricciardi had talks with the front-running Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees about trading his ace pitcher for prospects, but could not come to a deal. The talks were very public, and Ricciardi received much criticism for leaving Halladay swinging in the wind for some three weeks. Doc's pitching was affected by the constant distractions, but once the trading deadline passed without a move, he settled down to finish the year on a strong note. He finished 17-10, 2.79 with 208 strikeouts in 239 innings. Ricciardi was fired with a few days to go in the season and new GM Alex Anthopoulos set to work to reach a deal his predecessor could not close. At the winter meetings, he completed a complex four-team deal that had Halladay move to the Phillies, with the Jays receiving three top prospects, pitcher Kyle Drabek and catcher Travis d'Arnaud from Philly and third baseman Brett Wallace from Oakland. The Seattle Mariners were also involved, as they received Phils' ace Cliff Lee in exchange for other prospects, allowing Philly to make the trade.

Doc left Toronto a fan favorite; as a token of his appreciation, he took out a full page ad in a local newspaper thanking the fans for their support, passion and devotion since 1995. However, he immediately established himself as the new Phillies ace in 2010, lining up the shutouts and complete games in the early weeks of the season. Then, if an exclamation mark was needed, he pitched the 20th perfect game in major league history on May 29 against the Florida Marlins. The gem came only 20 days after Dallas Braden's, accomplished on May 9, making it the first time two perfect games were thrown in the same season since 1880.

On October 6, Halladay pitched a no-hitter in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. It was only the second no-hitter ever pitched in a postseason game in big league history. The first was Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. There was also a postseason no-hitter in a Negro Leagues World Series in 1926, but it is not recognized as part of Major League canon. Halladay became the 5th pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a year, following Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, Virgil Trucks and Nolan Ryan. No one had done it since Ryan 37 years earlier. After the season, he was a unanimous choice for the National League Cy Young Award. He also won the 2010 GIBBY Award for Starter of the Year, voted on by fans at He finished 2010 with 21 wins, a 2.44 ERA, 219 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.09, in addition to his 9 complete games.

Halladay was back in dominating form for the Phillies in 2011 anchoring a starting rotation that had been strengthened by the signing of Cliff Lee as a free agent in the offseason, and the acquisition of veteran Roy Oswalt late the previous season. Doc was still the master though, taking the early lead in wins and complete games in the National League. In his return to the Toronto for the first time since his trade, on July 2nd, 2011, he pitched a typical 5-3 complete game win to improve his record to 11-3. He was given a warm reception and a standing ovation by his old fans, appreciative of the great years he had put in for the Jays, and of the class he had always shown. He was named starting pitcher for the National League in the 2011 All-Star Game, becoming the fourth pitcher after Vida Blue, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens to start the game for both leagues. He had one of his typical great performances, retiring all 6 of the batters he faced over the first two innings. He finished the year at 19-6, 2.35, with 220 strikeouts and a league-leading 8 complete games, although he was outshined by Clayton Kershaw and Ian Kennedy in the Cy Young Award vote. He won Game 1 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-6, giving up 3 runs in 8 innings, but in the deciding Game 5, the one run he gave up in 8 innings was enough for the Cards to squeak by, 1-0, behind a great performance by his former teammate with the Jays, Chris Carpenter.

Doc started the 2012 season on a typically strong foot, winning his first three decisions, but then ran into problems. After going through a stretch during which he was only 1-5, 5.29, he was placed on the disabled list on May 29th with a sore right shoulder. The condition did not require surgery, but meant a 6-to-8-week absence from the mound. Roy returned on July 17th, but his absence was costly for the Phillies, who never really competed for the division title, and for Halladay, who only went 11-8, 4.49 in his worst season in a decade.

Halladay had a most unusual game on April 3, 2013, striking out 9 Braves while allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings. He became the first pitcher in at least 97 years to fan nine batters while retiring ten or fewer. On April 14th, he won the 200th game of his career with a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins, thanks to a 9th-inning pinch homer by Laynce Nix. He cut down his ERA on the season from 14.73 to 7.63 and eased some of the early concerns about his lack of form with a strong performance reminiscent of his glory days. However, this headed south again immediately after that performance, and on May 5th, he was handed one of the worst beatings of his careers by those same Marlins. Adeiny Hechavarria was the key, hitting a bases-loaded triple off him in the 1st, and chasing him with a one-out grand slam in the 3rd. In all, he gave up 9 runs in 2 1/3 innings to see his record fall to 2-4, 8.65. After the game, he complained of shoulder discomfort and was immediately placed on the disabled list, undergoing surgery shortly afterwards. He was out of action until August 25th, when he returned with a 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He only made five more appearances after that, and his final one on September 23rd against the Marlins lasted only three batters - the shortest start of his career - as he struggled with his control before being taken out with "arm fatigue". The Phillies announced that he would be shut down for the remainder of the season, which he ended with a record of 4-5, 6.82. After the season, with his contract up, Halladay signed a one-day contract to go back to the Toronto Blue Jays and announced his retirement with a press conference on December 16th, although news of his decision had come out a week earlier.

Over the years, Halladay developed a reputation as an old-school pitcher, with his propensity to lead the league in complete games. He did not have one outstanding pitch, but his control was exceptional, and he could locate pitches at will in any situation, all of them above average: a sinker, a cutter, a curveball and a splitter, keeping opposing batters continually guessing and off-balance. He was called the best pitcher in modern baseball by some in the media.

After his retirement, he settled in Florida and was the pitching coach for Calvary Christian High School, which his son Braden attended, while also serving as a spring training instructor for the Phillies. He also indulged his passion for flying small planes, stemming from growing up the son of a pilot, but unfortunately it cost him his life. He was not able to fly while active as a player, but obtained his pilot's license shortly after his retirement. He died on November 7, 2017 at the age of 40, when his recently acquired ICON A5 plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, immediately west of Holiday, FL. He was one of the first buyers of the new aircraft model, a single-engine light sports plane, apparently against the wishes of his wife, and had filmed a promotional video for the manufacturer. The crash occurred only a couple of weeks after he had taken possession of his model. The investigation into the crash was expected to take over a year, but early eyewitness reports pointed to the plane being flown low over water, leading to a high-energy impact with the water.

Initial findings from the National Transportation Safety Board released a couple of weeks after the crash mentioned that the plane had performed some brisk climbing and turning maneuvers close to the water before the crash, evidence corroborated from a video that circulated shortly after the accident, with the plane coming as low as 11 meters above the surface before climbing quickly, then making a sharp turn, at which point it went into a 45-degree fatal dive. The results of his autopsy were released on January 19th and indicated that while, as expected, Halladay had died from blunt force trauma with drowning as a contributory factor, his body also contained traces of morphine, as well as Zolpidem (a sleeping medication), an antidepressant drug and alcohol. Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibit the consumption of alcohol within eight hours of piloting a civil aircraft or the use of "any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety." The NTSB issued a report on April 15, 2020 and it confirmed that Halladay "had high levels of amphetamines in his system and was doing extreme acrobatics" when the crash occurred. His wife Brandy responded the following day: "Yesterday's NTSB report on Roy's accident was painful for our family, as it has caused us to relive the worst day of our lives. It has reinforced what I have previously stated, that no one is perfect. Most families struggle in some capacity and ours was no exception. We respectfully ask that you not make assumptions or pass judgment."

His death was mourned universally in the baseball world, as he was remembered not just for his on-field excellence, but also for his devotion to charitable causes. Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that: "All of us at baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay", while Tony Clark, head of the Players' Association added: "Our hearts are broken. Roy Halladay was not just one of the greatest competitors, but was also among the best men in our generation of players." A number of former teammates and adversaries expressed their sadness and admiration as well.

He was married to Brandy (née Gates) and had two sons, Braden and Ryan. "Doc" was actively involved with the local children's hospital in Toronto. Starting in 2005, he and Brandy hosted "Doc's Box" at Rogers Centre (in conjunction with the Jays Care Foundation) where they invited children and their families from the Hospital for Sick Children into a private luxury suite. The lucky guests were treated to a fun-filled day of baseball where they received their very own Doc's Box t-shirt, a hat, a program and other Jays goodies.

He was given the nickname "Doc" by the late Jays' announcer Tom Cheek, in memory of a famous figure of the 19th Century "Wild West", gunfighter John Henry "Doc" Holliday. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its 2017 class. The Blue Jays retired his uniform number, 32, on March 29, 2018 and wore a commemorative patch in his honor on their uniforms that season.

He first became eligible for the Hall of Fame in its 2019 ballot, which was after the normal five-year waiting period, as his death had arrived too late for the Roberto Clemente exception to have been invoked a year earlier. He sailed through the ballot, receiving 85.4% of the vote and becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His wife Brandy spoke on his behalf at the induction ceremony. A year later, the Phillies announced that they would retire his uniform number, 34, on the anniversary of his perfect game, May 29th, but as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was pushed back to August 8, 2021.

His eldest son, Braden Halladay, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 32nd round of the 2019 amateur draft, then headed to Penn State University.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 8-time All-Star (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 & 2008-2011)
  • 2-time Cy Young Award Winner (2003/AL & 2010/NL)
  • 2-time League Wins Leader (2003/AL & 2010/NL)
  • 4-time League Innings Pitched Leader (2002/AL, 2003/AL, 2008/AL & 2010/NL)
  • 7-time League Complete Games Leader (2003/AL, 2005/AL, 2007-2009/AL, 2010/NL & 2011/NL)
  • 4-time League Shutouts Leader (2003/AL, 2008/AL, 2009/AL & 2010/NL)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 8 (2002, 2003 & 2006-2011)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (2003, 2008 & 2010)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (2002, 2003 & 2006-2011)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 5 (2003 & 2008-2011)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2019

AL Cy Young Award
2002 2003 2004
Barry Zito Roy Halladay Johan Santana
NL Cy Young Award
2009 2010 2011
Tim Lincecum Roy Halladay Clayton Kershaw


  • most stats taken from the 2005 Who's Who in Baseball
  • some info copied via the GFDL from the Wikipedia article Roy Halladay contributed to both wikis by the same author

Further Reading[edit]

  • Associated Press: "NTSB: Late Roy Halladay was doing extreme stunts when plane crashed in 2017", USA Today, April 15, 2020. [1]
  • Rishi Barran: "Halladay finds success as HS pitching coach", Spectrum Sports, April 13, 2017. [2]
  • Gregor Chisholm: "Halladay dies in plane crash off Florida coast: Former Blue Jays, Phillies hurler won 2 Cy Young Awards, threw no-hitter in postseason",, November 7, 2017. [3]
  • Paul Hagen: "RIP, Doc: 'Your favorite player's favorite player': Halladay's legacy extends far beyond game",, November 7, 2017. [4]
  • Cathal Kelly: "Halladay was true-Blue, regardless his jersey", The Globe and Mail, January 22, 2019, pp. B11, B13. [5]
  • Matt Monagan: "Roy Halladay was the best pitcher of his era and his first-ballot Hall of Fame election proves it", "Cut4",, January 22, 2019. [6]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Roy Halladay: A genuine ace who symbolized competitiveness", USA Today Sports, November 7, 2017. [7]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Roy Halladay's wife, Brandy, gives emotional speech at Hall of Fame induction ceremony", USA Today, July 21, 2019. [8]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Roy Halladay’s drug addiction exposed in ESPN documentary 'Imperfect: The Roy Halladay Story'", USA Today, May 28, 2020. [9]
  • Mike Oz: "Roy Halladay killed in plane crash at age 40", "Big League Stew", Yahoo! Sports, November 7, 2017. [10]
  • A.J. Perez: "Experts: Roy Halladay likely impaired at time of fatal plane crash", USA Today Sports, January 20, 2018. [11]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Halladay was everybody's hero",, November 7, 2017. [12]
  • Tracy Ringolsby: "Humble Halladay never lost track of his roots",, November 8, 2017. [13]
  • Larry Shenk: "Looking back at Doc's postseason no-no",, January 1, 2024. [14]
  • Kevin Spain: "Roy Halladay's wife 'fought hard' against pitcher getting his pilot's license", USA Today Sports, November 7, 2017. [15]
  • Jesse Yomtov: "Baseball Hall of Fame countdown: A year after his death, Roy Halladay should get in easily", USA Today, January 14, 2019. [16]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Halladay's 10 greatest moments on the hill",, November 7, 2017. [17]
  • Todd Zolecki: Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2020. ISBN 978-1629377988
  • Todd Zolecki: "How the Phillies traded for Roy Halladay",, December 15, 2021. [18]
  • Todd Zolecki: "'What a horse!': Revisiting Halladay's perfecto: Biography looks back at the life and career of the Hall of Famer",, May 28, 2022. [19]

Related Sites[edit]