My Greatest Roy Halladay Memories
With the surprising news of Roy (Doc) Halladay’s announcement today that he is retiring from the game of baseball, I wanted to opine my thoughts on his press conference and my favourite memories of him as a player.
In watching his press conference this afternoon, Halladay really seemed at peace with his decision to step away from the game. He stated that the main thing making him lean towards retirement was the condition of his back which sounds serious enough when he spoke about needing possible injections and what not to try and avoid surgery. He also seems quite fond of the opportunity to spend time with his family and, in particular, coaching both his boys’ baseball teams. He also feels honoured to have the opportunity to retire as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays where he came up, re-invented himself and became the dominate pitcher we all know and love. Just so you know Roy, as fans, we’re very honoured too that you feel that way and want to go out as a Blue Jay.
When you think about it, to retire as a member of any other team other than Toronto just wouldn’t seem right. To go through the total tear down of his mechanics and mental approach when he was sent all the way to Single-A Dunedin in 2001, to be ripped apart by the late Mel Queen until all that was left was Roy’s burning desire to do the best he can in this sport, to gaining invaluable insight into the mental aspects of the game from the late sports psychologist, Harvey A. Dorfman, whom I know Doc appreciated so much because he read Harvey’s book, “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement.” every single off-season as a refresher, to turn himself around and become the pre-eminent work horse in MLB, a six time All-Star, a Cy Young winner in both leagues, to Roy Halladay I say, thank you for remembering that you’re a Blue Jay.
To honour Doc’s greatest Blue Jay moments, I invite you to head over to Mop Up Duty who does an excellent job of highlighting many memories that I recall very fondly. I remember watching on tv on the last day of the 1998 regular season, Doc nearly throwing a no-hitter vs. the Detroit Tigers only to have Bobby Higginson break it up with a home run with one out to go.
I remember witnessing the A.J. Burnett & Roy Halladay match-up when Burnett returned to Rogers Centre as a member of the New York Yankees. On that day, Halladay didn’t disappoint by going the distance and beating his former mentee enabling the fans to feel some vindication from Burnett leaving the team.
I also remember being there for Doc’s return to Toronto as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, wearing #34 as opposed to his regular #32, where he received a multitude of ovations the entire weekend. On July 2, 2011 he pitched a complete game win – what else did we expect – but no matter, we had our famed ace back with us despite him wearing a different uniform. It was another way for the fans to honour Roy.
At long last, it was absolutely fantastic to see him finally pitching in the playoffs for the Phillies and performing so unbelievably well, pitching a no-hitter in his first ever post-season start. There’s no doubt that he was ready for that one! I only wish he could have fulfilled his dream of winning a championship. In Philly, he at least had that chance which Doc said he was so grateful for.
So to you Roy Halladay, I say thank you for doing this as a Blue Jay. I look forward to seeing your name on the Blue Jays Level of Excellence in the near future.