Then there are the seasons of 200-plus innings, the complete games and the wins
There are also the tales about the early-morning workout sessions and the obsessive routine that Roy Halladay puts himself through in order to get onto the mound for an average of 230 innings over the past 15 years.
As Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote on Friday, the legend of Roy Halladay is, uh, legendary.
Roy Halladay is Bill Brasky, except for one difference.
“The stories about him,” Phillies catcher Erik Kratz said, “are true.”
So it begs the question: with a 199-100 record, a 3.31 ERA, a pair of Cy Young awards and a couple of trips to the postseason, is Roy Halladay a Hall-of-Famer? If his career were to end right now, would you cast your Hall-of-Fame vote for him?
The overwhelming consensus of voters asked in an informal poll claimed that they would cast a vote for Halladay even if he were to call it quits tomorrow. At worst, Halladay might cause a voter or two to mull over his worthiness for being a first ballot Hall of Famer, but the reality is that he was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era.
Then again, before the steroid era put every statistic into question, there were a few pitchers like Halladay who weren’t in the Hall of Fame for one reason or another. In fact, after 15 seasons Halladay’s stat line is comparable to that of former Yankees’ ace Ron Guidry, a pitcher who is no longer on the Hall-of-Fame ballot.
In 14 years Guidry went 170-69 with a 3.29 ERA. Like Halladay, Guidry won 20 games three times, including the otherworldly 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA and took home the Cy Young Award in 1978. Also like Halladay, Guidry averaged 235 innings per season and roughly 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings. In 1983 at age 32, Guidry pitched a remarkable 21 and, more notably, Guidry got to the World Series three times, won twice and went 3-1 with 1.69 ERA in four starts.
Now here’s the kicker… Guidry was taken off the Hall-of-Fame ballot in 2002 after nine years where he never achieved more than 8.8 percent of the vote (75 percent is needed for enshrinement).
No, this isn’t an argument for Guidry to be reconsidered for the Hall of Fame and we know that comparing statistics across different eras is usually foolhardy. Hell, it’s even tough to compare stats amongst players on the same team or across leagues in the same year. The great players don’t play the game to achieve stats and sometimes the natural course of the game can skew the numbers is all sorts of directions. However, it’s worth noting that like Halladay, Guidry was viewed as the best pitcher on earth for a number of seasons.
Look at this quote from Guidry’s old teammate Willie Randolph:
“I’ve always said Ron Guidry, pound for pound, was the fiercest competitor I ever played with. Nobody wanted to give him a chance when he first came up. Too skinny, too small, they all thought. They couldn’t see what he had in his heart. He had a big one and a lot of determination.”
Then there’s this one from his teammate Reggie Jackson in an Sports Illustrated story from the 1978 season:
“He and [Jim] Palmer are the two best athletes among pitchers I've ever seen. The few times I've seen him swing the bat make me think he could be an every-day player, the way Bob Gibson could have been.”
And of course this gem from longtime rival manager Whitey Herzog:
“He’s not God, but he’s close.”
Now look at what they say about Halladay …
“This guy is The Immortal, we're all just humans, and we're lucky enough to play baseball with him,” Cole Hamels told Passan.
And yet Guidry never even got a sniff of Hall of Fame consideration from the voters.
Again, this isn’t a case for Ron Guidry (or anyone else) or against Roy Halladay — far from it. Nor is it an expose on the knee-jerk tendencies of the Hall-of-Fame vote. Maybe the point is that it will be fun to watch Halladay pitch for a few more seasons as he puts the finishing touches on his Hall-of-Fame resume.