Roy Halladay is one of five pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues — in 2003 with the American League’s Toronto Blue Jays and 2010 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He joined Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry on that exclusive list. Halladay wasn’t just the best pitcher in the game in those bookend seasons, but despite a broken leg suffered in the 2005 season, also for the eight-season span…and perhaps even longer.
Not bad for a kid from the state pitchers are supposed to fear.
Born in Denver and raised in Arvada, Halladay was a multiple-position prodigy before settling in as a pitcher and graduating from Arvada West High in 1995. For the Wildcats, he was 25-2 in his three-season career and was 10-1 with a 0.55 ERA as a senior. He tentatively accepted a scholarship to attend the University of Arizona, but the Blue Jays, then the defending World Series champions, took him with the 17th overall pick in MLB’s June ‘95 draft. That was seven picks after the Colorado Rockies selected University of Tennessee first baseman (and quarterback) Todd Helton, who ultimately preceded Halladay into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame by a year.
“I’m just kind of speechless,” Halladay said the day of the draft. “They’ve been talking to me more than anybody else lately, and they said they would pick me if they got the chance. They’ve been calling all morning, getting Social Security numbers and things, so it sounded pretty positive.”
The Blue Jays signed him a month after the draft and he climbed Toronto’s minor-league ladder before joining the Blue Jays late in the 1998 season. His first career win came in style, when he came within one out of throwing a no-hitter for Toronto in the last game of that season, and his first big season came in 2002, when he was 19-7. The next year, by then nicknamed “Doc” by Blue Jays radio announcer Tom Cheek, Halladay won his first Cy Young, going 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA, and he continued to be dominant for the Blue Jays through 2009. Also during his stay, he and his wife, Brandy, invited patients from a children’s hospital and their families to attend Blue Jays’ games in “Doc’s Box” in the Rogers Centre.
Halladay went to the Phillies in a December 2009 trade, signed a contract extension and then won the NL Cy Young in his first year in Philadelphia. In May of that season, he threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history against Florida and then threw a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against Cincinnati.
By the time he retired after the 2013 season, he was 203-105 in his career, with 2,117 strikeouts and a 3.38 earned run average. He acknowledged his original organization by signing a one-day contract with Toronto and retiring as a Blue Jay.
I have no regrets.