First Toronto, then Philadelphia, and next...Cooperstown?
With baseball's winter meetings getting underway today in Orlando, pitcher Roy Halladay announced his retirement from Major League Baseball as he signed a one-day contract with Toronto to retire as a Blue Jay.
The Blue Jays drafted Halladay out of Arvada West HS in Arvada, Colorado with the 17th overall pick in the 1995 MLB Amateur Draft.
The 36-year-old right-hander leaves the game with a 203-105 record with a 3.38 ERA pitching for the Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies in his 16 year career in the bigs with 67 complete-games, 20 of them shutouts and 2,117 strikeouts in 2,749.1 innings pitched. He was also a 20-game winner three times in his career as well (2003, 2008, 2010), and recorded 10+ wins in 10 of his last 12 seasons.
Toss in a pair of Cy Young awards, a no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS against Cincinnatti (9 IP, 1BB, 8K) a 65.6 WAR rating, the question now is if Doc Halladay is Cooperstown worthy.
It took Halladay about six years to come into his own, bouncing between Toronto and Triple-A Syracuse between 1998-2001, until Halladay became one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2002-11, racking up 170 wins, eight All-Star nominations (six with Toronto, two with Philly), appearing in six All-Star games and starting in the 2009 mid-summer classic.
Halladay is just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to win the Cy Young award in both leagues, winning the American League Cy Young with Toronto in 2003 (22-7, 3.25 ERA, 204 K) and the National League with Philadelphia in 2010 (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 219 K). He also placed in the top five of the seven years he was nominated.
But is he a Hall of Famer?
It's safe to say that he belongs in the conversation for a spot in Cooperstown amongst some of the starting pitchers already there.
He has more wins than Sandy Koufax (165) and Lefty Gomez (189), a lower career ERA than Dennis Eckersley (3.50) and recorded more strikeouts than Whitey Ford (1,956). He pitched in an era where pitchers are (literally) "babied" with pitch and innings counts as bullpens and relievers have become slightly more prevalent than the starting pitchers themselves.
The only two things that could hold Halladay back would be the fact that he's never won a World Series, and is only 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 35 strikeouts in just five career postseason appearances, all with the Phillies.
We have a good five years before he's eligible for Cooperstown.
May the debates begin.