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Roy Halladay

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Roy Halladay
<img alt="" height="199" src="275px-Roy_Halladay_2009_%281%29.jpg" width="275" />
Philadelphia Phillies — No. 34
Starting Pitcher
Born: May 14, 1977 (1977-05-14) (age 32)
Denver, Colorado
Bats: RightThrows: Right 
MLB debut
September 20, 1998 for the Toronto Blue Jays
Career statistics
(through December 10, 2009)
WinLoss    148–76
Earned run average    3.43
Strikeouts    1495
Complete games    49
Teams
  • Toronto Blue Jays (1998–2009)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (2010-present)
Career highlights and awards
  • 6x All-Star selection (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009)
  • 2003 AL Cy Young Award
  • 2003 AL TSN Pitcher of the Year
  • Led AL in WHIP (1.05), Complete Games (9), and Innings Pitched (246.0) in 2008

Harry Leroy Halladay III[1] (born May 14, 1977), usually referred to as Roy or his nickname "Doc", is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. His nickname, coined by former Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek, is a reference to Wild West gunslinger "Doc" Holliday. He was the Blue Jays' first draft selection in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft, the 17th pick overall, and has played for the team from 1998 through 2009, after which he was traded to Philadelphia.

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Early life

Born in Denver, Colorado, Halladay grew up in the suburb of Arvada; his father was a pilot for a food processing company, while his mother was a homemaker. From an early age, Halladay loved baseball, trying every position on the field until, by age 14, his success on the pitcher’s mound attracted the attention of major league scouts. In 1995, after graduating from Arvada West High School,[1] he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the amateur draft. He was promoted to the major league club as a September call-up in 1998.[2]

Career

Toronto Blue Jays

1998

In his second career start, against the Detroit Tigers on September 27, 1998, Halladay had what would have been the third no-hitter ever pitched on the final day of a regular season broken up with two outs in the ninth. The feat would have joined the combined no-hitter by four Oakland Athletics pitchers (Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers) in 1975 and Mike Witt's perfect game in 1984. The bid was broken up by a Bobby Higginson solo home run. The home run was the only hit Halladay would allow in a 2–1 Blue Jays victory, as he recorded his first major league win. The game was completed in 1 hour 45 minutes.

2000–01

During the 2000 season, Halladay sported a 10.64 ERA in 19 games, 13 of which he started. At the beginning of the 2001 season, Halladay was optioned to Class A Dunedin Blue Jays to rebuild his delivery.

Halladay's fastball was clocked up to 95 mph, but it had little movement, and his pitches were up in the strike zone, which was ultimately the reason why his 2000 season was so unsuccessful. He worked with former Blue Jays pitching coach Mel Queen. The problem, Queen realized, was Halladay’s total reliance on his strength—his attempt to overpower batters with straight-ahead pitches. Within two weeks, Halladay had altered his arm angle for a more deceptive delivery, and added pitches that sank and careened.[3] Instead of throwing over the top, he chose to use a three-quarters delivery (the middle point between throwing overhand and sidearm). Originally a fastball pitcher, he became reliant on keeping his pitches low across the plate, regardless of the type of pitch thrown. The adjustments proved successful. After a month and a half, he was promoted to class AA Tennessee, and a month later, to class AAA Syracuse. By mid-season, he was back in the Blue Jays’ rotation. He posted a 5–3 record with a 3.19 ERA for the Blue Jays in 16 starts in 2001.

2002

In 2002, Halladay had a breakout season, finishing with a 19–7 record, while posting a 2.93 ERA with 168 strikeouts in 239.1 innings. Halladay was named to the All-Star team. His 19 wins were the most by a Blue Jay since David Wells won 20 in 2000.

2003

Halladay continued his success in the 2003 season, posting a 22–7 record with a 3.25 ERA in 266.0 innings. He also recorded 204 strikeouts and only 32 walks, good for a remarkable 6.38 strikeouts per walk ratio. Halladay pitched the first extra-inning shutout in the major leagues since Jack Morris in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, leading the Blue Jays to victory over the Tigers on September 6th. He pitched 10 innings and had not allowed a hit until Kevin Witt doubled with two outs in the top of the eighth. Halladay finished the season with the American League Cy Young Award, while being once again named an All-Star, and leading the Blue Jays to a surprising 86 victories.

2004

In 2004, Halladay was placed on the disabled list twice due to right shoulder problems. In just 133.0 innings, he went 8–8 with a 4.20 ERA. He walked 39 batters, seven more than he had walked in 2003 when he had pitched twice as many innings. He later revealed that he had been injured throughout the entire season with a "tired throwing arm", which he believed was from intense workouts in preseason.

2005

The 2005 season began successfully for Halladay, as he proved to be one of the best pitchers in the American League by going 12–4 with a 2.41 ERA in 19 starts. A favorite to win his second Cy Young award within three years, he was selected to his third All-Star team and was slated to be the starting pitcher for the American League at the All-Star Game in Detroit. However, on July 8, Halladay's leg was broken by a line drive off the bat of Texas Rangers left fielder Kevin Mench (who is now an ex-Blue Jay). As a result, he was replaced in the All-Star Game by Matt Clement of the Boston Red Sox, while Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox was named as the starting pitcher for the American League. Despite rehabilitation of his leg, Halladay would sit out the remainder of the season.

2006

On March 16, 2006, Halladay signed a $40 million, three year contract that will keep him with the club through 2010.

During 2006, Halladay finished near the top of the MLB in wins with 16. He was named to the American League All-Star Team as a reserve on July 3, 2006, along with four of his Blue Jays teammates. It marked the second-most appearances in club history, and Halladay's fourth as an All-Star. Although Halladay's strikeout total was lower in 2006 than in previous seasons, his groundball-to-flyball ratio, complete games, and innings pitched were all among the American League leaders.

2007

Halladay was the American league pitcher of the month in April, going 4–0, highlighted by a 10-inning complete game win over the Detroit Tigers. However, he pitched poorly in his two starts in May, and on May 11 was placed on the disabled list and underwent an appendectomy. He returned to the rotation in his usual form on May 31 against the Chicago White Sox. Halladay went 7 innings, giving up just six hits and allowing no runs on his way to his 100th career win. 2007 also saw Halladay drive in his first career RBI. Against the LA Dodgers on June 10, his ground ball single to center field allowed John McDonald to score. He shut out the Seattle Mariners on July 22, allowing only three hits.

2008

For the sixth consecutive year, Halladay was Toronto's opening day starter, improving his own club record.[4] He lost 3–2 in a pitcher's duel with New York's Chien-Ming Wang. His first win of the season came in his next start against Boston, when he outpitched Josh Beckett in his season debut. In his third start, Halladay pitched a complete game against the Texas Rangers, in a 4–1 win. Three of his nine complete game efforts resulted in losses due to Toronto's underachieving offense early in the season. In fact, those three complete game losses came in three consecutive starts. On June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Halladay was struck in the temple by a line-drive off the bat of Nyjer Morgan. The ball caromed off Halladay's head and was caught by third baseman Scott Rolen, ending the inning. Halladay was able to walk back to the dugout, but was taken out of the game for safety concerns. Although he was given a clean bill of health for his next start, it was later suggested by television commentators that Halladay may have in fact suffered a temporary lapse in recognition of what happened on the play. Halladay pitched his 10th career shutout against the Seattle Mariners on June 30. He limited them to four hits in his sixth complete game of the season. The shutout ties him with the Cardinals' Mark Mulder for 10th among active pitchers. On July 11, 2008, Halladay pitched his 7th complete game and second shutout of the season against the New York Yankees, allowing 0 runs on 2 hits for his 38th career complete game. Halladay was named to the American League All-Star Team as a reserve. He pitched in the fourth inning, yielding only one hit and striking out Lance Berkman. In his last start of the season, he fittingly pitched a complete game against the Yankees to win his 20th game of the year. In so doing, he became the first pitcher to win five games against the Yankees in a single season since Luis Tiant in 1974. In addition, he led the AL with a 1.05 WHIP. Halladay finished second in the 2008 American League Cy Young Award voting, behind Cliff Lee of the Indians.[5] He also led the AL with 9 complete games, and struck out a career-high 206 batters (two more than his 2003 season) as well as post a 2.78 ERA (the second-best of his career) and was second only to Cliff Lee's 2.54 ERA. Halladay also became just the fourth pitcher in major league history to post two seasons of 200 strikeouts and fewer than 40 walks.

2009

On April 6, Halladay made his team-record seventh straight Opening Day start for Toronto, defeating the Detroit Tigers before a near-capacity crowd at Rogers Centre. Halladay then also won his next two starts, on the road against the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins. Halladay would lose his next game to the Rangers giving up 5 earned runs over 8 innings only to go on and win his next 6 games to bring his record up to 8-1 with a 2.75 ERA. With season-ending injuries to planned 2009 Jays' starters Dustin McGowan and Shawn Marcum, and with #2 starter Jesse Litsch on the disabled list early in the season, Halladay lead a staff of young, mostly inexperienced starters. Halladay was named the AL Player of the Week for the period ending May 17th. Doc was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA over 16.0 innings in his two starts the week prior. [6] In a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 2, Halladay struck out 14 batters and threw 133 pitches, both career highs.[7]

On June 12, he left the game early because of a strained hip adductor muscle, commonly referred to as a pulled groin, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 17. On July 5th, 2009, he was selected to represent Toronto at the 2009 All Star Game. On July 14 2009, he started the All Star game representing the American League pitching 2 innings giving up 3 runs, 1 of which was unearned.

In 2009 he was named #7 on the Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in baseball. A panel of 100 baseball people, many of them members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and winners of major baseball awards, was polled to arrive at the list.[2]

Halladay currently has a career win percentage of .673, good enough for 8th all-time, behind Lefty Grove. He finished the season with a 17-10 record.

Philadelphia Phillies

On December 16, Halladay agreed to a contract extension worth of $60 million or more with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was involved in a multi-team trade between the Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Phillies, and the Blue Jays. [8]

Scouting report

Over the past several seasons, Roy Halladay adjusted his approach to that of a ground ball pitcher with a good strikeout-to-walk ratio. This approach helped to keep his pitch count down (he regularly features among the league leaders in this category) so as to avoid fatigue later in the season. Nevertheless, he threw over 200 strikeouts in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, ranking him amongst the AL leaders in that category. Halladay's arsenal includes a four-seam fastball which he can throw in the mid 90s, a two-seam (sinking) fastball which he throws at 92-94 MPH, a curveball which he throws around 77 MPH, a cutter which he throws at 90-92 MPH, and a changeup, which he added in 2006.[9] He generally can use any of these pitches in any count, which serves to make him even more effective and keeps hitters off pace.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Halladay noted that overusing his cutter in 2006 caused some discomfort towards the end of the season, and that he planned to throw more sinkers in 2007 to avoid further pain or stiffness. In 2007, Halladay regained confidence in his cutter, crediting his catcher Sal Fasano for suggesting a grip change.[10] On the Fox telecast of the 2008 MLB All Star Game, Halladay was seen, along with Scott Kazmir, observing the grip of the cutter of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and perhaps figuring out another way of further improving his cutter.

In addition, Roy Halladay pitches at an efficient pace in order to make his pitches more effective in keeping hitters guessing. Halladay also credits his quick, work-like pace as his best way to keep himself focused, as well as to reduce swelling/stiffness throughout the course of the two plus hour game.

Before and during every one of his starts until he is relieved, Halladay has a distinct trademark in which he goes into a complete "isolation mode", immersing himself in complete concentration and in more or less his own words: To try and plan every pitch he would pitch while on the mound. During this time, he doesn't talk to anyone except a manager , or his pitching coach. He will not even to reply to a "hello" or wave for that matter from a teammate or spectator, and will not talk to the media before his start, not unless he's been relieved or he completes a game.

Personal life

Halladay is married and has two children. He and his wife Brandy were raised as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[11] Halladay and his wife invite children and their families from the Hospital for Sick Children into "Doc's Box" at Rogers Centre during Blue Jays games. As part of his contract with the Blue Jays, he also donates $100,000/year to Jays Care Foundation.

He has been the Blue Jays' nominee numerous times for the Roberto Clemente Award for his work with underprivileged children,[12] most recently in 2008.[13]

During the offseason, Halladay and his family live in Odessa, Florida.[14][15][16]

Praise

Several current and former major leaguers have called Halladay the best active starter in the MLB.

  • Derek Jeter was quoted as saying, "He never throws a ball over the middle of the plate," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "He goes corner-to-corner as good as any pitcher in the game. I've said it before, he's probably the best starter in baseball." [17]
  • Torii Hunter was quoted as saying, "He's the best there is in the game right now. He throws the ball in and out the zone, out and into the zone. He's one of the best at doing that. There are some pitchers I own, and some pitchers that own me -- he's definitely one of them." " [18]
  • In an ESPN Magazine about the best hitter/pitcher matchup, Aubrey Huff was quoted as saying "Roy Halladay against Pujols, best against the best. Halladay is as good as I've seen other than Pedro [Martinez] in his heyday. He's not 96-97 [mph], he's not overpowering, but he's got that cutter, that sinker. He hits his spots and he never makes a mistake. He'll throw that cutter in, then throws a sinker away on the black. It's not fair." [19]
  • In the same article Alex Cora said "He is such a complete pitcher. I've seen him give up four runs to us, then he ends up going nine. He has so many pitches. If the cutter isn't working, he goes with the changeup. If the changeup isn't working, he goes with the breaking ball. If that's not working, he makes something up. I used to tell Petey [Pedro Martinez] that if I was a general manager, and Roy was a free agent, I'd go over to his house, I'd give him a contract, I'd tell him to fill in a number and I'll be happy."
  • When asked about his ultimate hitter/pitcher matchup, Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer said "It would be Halladay against anyone; that's how good he is. I saw [Rangers pitching coach] Mike Maddux the other day. He ran up to me and said, 'I just saw Halladay for the first time! He's unbelievable!'"
  • "Asked what makes Roy Halladay the best pitcher in baseball, the Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira widened his eyes with respect and wonder: 'All his pitches start in the same place and end in a different place.'" [20]
  • In the same article, Raúl Ibáñez said "He’s definitely got the best stuff that I’ve seen — I’d put him right up there with Pedro [Martinez] in 1999. His sinker and his cutter, they’re going in completely opposite directions. Even if you guess right, it doesn’t mean you hit it, because he locates them so well. If he was in New York or Boston, fans would know more about him. But in baseball circles, he’s the best. Respectfully, he’s so good that it’s fun to try to compete against him. "He comes right at you. Even if you take an 0 for 4, you’re so locked in — you want to face the best. He’s the biggest challenge out there."

In an interview with Politico.com, then US President George W. Bush (who was at one point part owner of the Texas Rangers) also claimed that, if given the choice of one pitcher and one position player with which to build a team, he would pick Roy Halladay and Chase Utley: "Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays is a great pitcher. He's a steady guy, he burns up innings."

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