Harry Leroy Halladay III (or simply Roy) will
always have a special place in the hearts of Toronto Blue Jays fans.
Despite being born and raised in Denver and bearing a nickname derived
from a gunfighter of the western United States (Doc Holliday), Roy
Halladay has become synonymous with baseball in Canada’s largest city.
he wins enough games to get into baseball’s Hall of Fame, he will
almost surely wear a Blue Jays cap and go down as a Blue Jay eternally.
Although currently playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, whose
nickname ‘Phillies’ means simply people from Philadelphia, Roy Halladay
isn’t a Philadelphian, he’s a Torontonian.
But is he the best player in Toronto baseball history? My short answer is “yes.”
bringing up this argument, one refers to Dave Stieb and Carlos Delgado
as his main competitors in the all-history franchise player race. But I
don’t think it’s close. At all.
Comparing Halladay with Stieb
may have 175 career wins as a Blue Jays, but Halladay isn’t far behind
with 148 and Halladay has far fewer losses: 76 compared with Stieb’s
134. That’s a .661 win percentage for Halladay and a terrible (for a
seven-time all-star) .565 record for Stieb.
practically identical ERAs (3.44 for Halladay, 3.43 for Stieb), but the
thing with Stieb is that he never put together a truly dominant year.
Sure, he had his no-hitter, but his best season was probably 1984 when
he went 16-8 with a 2.83 ERA and 198 strikeouts. He never struck out
200 batters in a season. He never won more than 18 games. Only thrice
did he put together a sub-3.00 ERA. As a result, he was never engrossed
in Cy Young races, your average staff ace and could have easily fit in
as a second starter on another team.
But with Halladay, he had
his Cy Young Award, in 2003 and was a full-fledged contender for the
accolade in both 2008 and 2009 with decent years in between. He’s fully
capable of striking out 200 batters in a season, doing it three times.
He allows a startlingly few amount of walks, 2.00/9 innings for his
career. Dave Stieb regularly allowed 80+ walks and 3.21/9 innings for
his career, certainly not a favourable statistic.
Both of them
pitch(ed) an alarming number of complete games and were
uber-consistent. With Stieb, people play the “He played for the Blue
Jays longer, he was more dedicated to his club,” card. While he did
play 1.4x more games than Halladay (really not that much more),
Halladay still played for the Toronto Blue Jays for 12 seasons and
signed multiple extensions. He was just as serious about bringing
baseball goodness to Toronto as Stieb was.
When browsing a list of Blue Jays team records, the casual observer
may infer that Dave Stieb is the best pitcher in team history, but
really, it’s Halladay. End of discussion, onto Delgado.
Comparing Halladay with Carlos Delgado
Carlos Delgado is unquestionably the best batter in Toronto Blue
Jays history. He hit the most home runs. He slugged .556, highest in
team history. He scored the most runs, drove in the most runs,
collected the most walks, hit the most doubles, the most total bases…
need we go on?
But, is he closely comparable to Roy Halladay,
now established as the best pitcher in Blue Jays history. Once again, I
don’t think he’s up to par with the Doc. Playing only 9 seasons with
Toronto, the records he set are obviously due to lack of
long-team-history-inflation. Had he continued to play for Toronto for 4
or 5 more years and hit 500 home runs as a Jay, then sure, start the
worshiping, but without it, he’s stuck in transition a bit.
Delgado had MVP numbers in 2000 (.344 with 41 homers and 137 Runs
Batted In, I don’t have a clue as to how he lost to Jason Giambi, who
mainly put up inferior stats across the board) as well as being MVP
runner-up to A-Rod in 2003. He lost to two steroid users, ick. But
nonetheless he proved that like Roy Halladay and unlike Dave Stieb, he
could put together big years and had big stuff.
played longer and had just as dominant years with the Blue Jays. You
can’t blame Delgado for leaving Toronto and while Delgado maintains a
very positive image in Blue Jays fans’ minds, I don’t think he was near
as much as a city-wide icon as Halladay was. Fans in Toronto were proud
that we had Halladay on our team. Plus, he’s a Yankees killer, 18-6
lifetime against the Evil Empire, a key reason Philadelphia wanted him.
I don’t think that Delgado is at Halladay’s level, Delgado was good but
not as synonymous with Toronto as Halladay has been since his arrival
in 1998. Roy Halladay will easily be inducted into the Blue Jays Level
of Excellence and will go down as the best Blue Jay ever.