Growing up a Blue Jays fan, I had to endure several tough seasons watching my favorite team struggle throughout the 2000s. Despite the troubles, there was always one day a week Blue Jays fans could look forward to, and that was when the man wearing No. 32 took the mound.
Ever since his debut in 1998, Roy Halladay was easily one of the most cherished players in Toronto Blue Jays history. He was always an old-school pitcher. He never shook off his catchers, always took himself seriously, and he trusted his stuff. I remember playing baseball on the school playground and can't remember a kid who didn’t want to pitch, always claiming “I’m Roy Halladay, I’ll strike you out!”
We all wanted to be like the "Doc."
A hard worker
Why did Roy Halladay mean so much to us Blue Jays fans? Aside from wins, Halladay was the poster boy for overcoming adversity. He was sent down to Class A Dunedin and worked his way back to the major leagues within half a season after posting a 10+ ERA in 2000. Halladay also gave us hope that maybe one day, the Blue Jays could find their way back into the postseason.
We all loved Halladay because he gave Canada's team a name. As a former Cy Young winner and several All-Star selections, Halladay was Toronto's star. Pitching in an era where performance-enhancing drugs were at their peak, Halladay also represented integrity by playing clean. He also played with determination and resiliency, he never wanted to come out of a game no matter how rough his outing was, and he always bounced back with an incredible performance after his roughest of outings.
A class act
Watching Halladay when I was growing up was nothing short of amazing. Sure, he was talented and he did incredible things, but there was much more to it than just watching strike after strike. Halladay was a true team player, he never complained about his situation and despite being on a bad team, Halladay loved being a Blue Jay which earned the respect, admiration, and love from fans, including myself.
Many of us were sad following his trade to the Philadelphia Phillies and his statement expressing his gratitude to the fans, the Blue Jays, and the City of Toronto really meant a lot to us. Since the Blue Jays missed the playoffs frequently, a lot of fans (myself included) cheered for the Phillies throughout the playoffs strictly because of Halladay.
When Halladay announced his retirement, Jays fans were touched that Halladay signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Blue Jays to officially retire as a member of the club. Showing us that Roy hadn't forgotten about Toronto despite him finding much more success as a member of the Phillies.
Very few players come through the league like Roy Halladay, and even fewer impacted the game of baseball like he did. Halladay was an incredible pitcher I had the privilege to see live on a couple occasions. His passing really hits me and many other Blue Jays and Phillies fans hard.
Roy Halladay; a tremendous pitcher, and an even better human being.