Blue Jays: My personal tribute to Roy “Doc” Halladay

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay pitches against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, April 8, 2007 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Jays defeated the Rays 6-3. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay pitches against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, April 8, 2007 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Jays defeated the Rays 6-3. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

“Doctor, doctor, give me the news, I’ve got a bad case of loving you. Because no pill’s gonna heal my ills, I’ve got a bad case of loving you.” Whenever you were at the Rogers Centre or back when it was called Skydome and heard those lyrics from Robert Palmer, you knew you’d be in for a treat. That’s because it was the walkout/warmup song whenever Roy Halladay took the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Earlier today (November 7th), the tragic news that one of the best Blue Jays pitchers of all time, one of the best Philadelphia Phillies pitchers of all time, and probably the best starting pitcher in all of baseball from 2002-2011, was killed in a tragic plane crash. For all of those reading this that had the chance to see Halladay during this time, you’re very lucky. He truly was the best pitcher during baseball for that near 10 year stretch with a 58.7 fWAR, almost 10 more wins than 2nd place C.C. Sabathia.

Not only was Roy Halladay the best pitcher in the game during his time, he also was one of the classiest guys off the field in both Toronto and Philadelphia. He did a ton of charity work in both communities and left a lasting memory with all of his teammates. A truly incredible human being whose life was taken too quickly doing something he loved.

In terms of the impact Roy Halladay left on me, it’s a big one. I’m still kicking myself over choosing an A.J. Burnett jersey over Roy Halladay when I got my first ever Blue Jays jersey. However, he was one of my personal favourites growing up. I still remember the first time I ever saw Roy Halladay live. I went to see the Chicago White Sox and Jays at Rogers Centre with my brother and Mom. We sat second row above the Blue Jays bullpen and I remember being in awe when he walked out of the bullpen and took the mound.

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That game was the first of many when I got to see Halladay live, but the first time was not a typical Halladay start. He only threw 5.0 mediocre innings. I was upset at the time that I didn’t get to see the dominant Roy Halladay. Luckily for me, there were plenty of other chances to see him live. I was fortunate to be at his final home start as a Blue Jay when he threw a complete game against the New York Yankees.

Even after he went to the Philadelphia Phillies, I legitimately cheered for the Phillies every time Halladay took the mound. Myself and two of my friends went down to Pittsburgh in 2011 to see the Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates wearing our Halladay Phillies jerseys. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Halladay start, but we were there to cheer for the Phillies for the sole reason of hoping Halladay would win a ring at season’s end.

Some of the best Halladay moments for myself that I’ve seen live or on TV include:

  • His 10 inning complete game against the Detroit Tigers
  • First start back in Toronto in 2011
  • His post-season no-hitter
  • Multiple complete games on TV or at the Dome
  • Roy Halladay vs. A.J. Burnett in 2009
  • Roy Halladay vs. Mark Buehrle in 2007 – 1 hour and 50 minute game time
  • Roy Halladay vs. Josh Beckett in 2008
  • Roy Halladay vs. Randy Johnson at Yankee Stadium in 2005

There are definitely more specific moments I’ve seen on TV or in person, but those particular games definitely standout in my mind, including the first time I saw him live.

Roy Halladay made it entertaining to go see the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre during some pretty lean years. There was always an attendance spike whenever he pitched as well, as people knew they’d likely see a win. It was super satisfying for myself to finally see him make the playoffs in 2010 and almost get to the World Series.

Roy Halladay will go down as one of my favourite players of all-time, as well as someone who had a major impact into shaping my fandom into what it’s grown to today. I wish the Halladay family well during these tough times, as well as the entire baseball community and fans who are feeling the same I am as I write this piece.

Next: Blue Jays: I feel like I've seen this before

Rest in peace, Harry Leroy Halladay or to all us baseball fans, Roy “Doc” Halladay.