By Cole Parkinson
When you think of Roy Halladay, it’s hard not to think of one of the greatest athletes to ever put on a Blue Jays uniform.
Seeing the news that he has passed away from a plane accident is hard to put into words as growing up a huge Blue Jays fan, he was one of the first players who I truly admired.
He was always on supremely mediocre Jays teams but every year and every time he took the ball, you knew something special could happen.
Drafted in the 1995 MLB Draft with the 17th overall pick, the man they called “Doc” was the biggest bright spot in the 2000s Blue Jays teams.
He played for the Blue Jays for 12 seasons but the team never once made the playoffs and that is a real shame considering some of the seasons he put together.
Looking back at it now, it really is too bad they could never build a team around Doc to really produce a contender, sure they had teams that were supposed to compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox but not one ever did.
While I was only eight years old when he won the 2003 Cy Young Award, I remember watching each one of his starts no matter where I was because it seemed like it was going to be a for sure Blue Jays win.
The thing I will remember most about his on field performance is the fact that every time he toed the rubber you knew he was going to give the team seven innings and everything he had.
Now the time between the 1993 World Series and the first playoff appearance in over two decades in 2015 is considered a dark age, people of my generation were accustomed to less than stellar teams.
But growing up in that time also allowed us to witness one of the best to throw the ball in a uniform that we cheered for.
During his 12 year tenure as a Blue Jay, Halladay amassed a 148-76 record with an ERA of 3.43 which ranks fifth among all-time Blue Jays pitchers.
While he is only fifth, you have to consider the lineups he was facing in the American League East which includes both the Bronx Bombers and the incredibly dangerous 2000s Red Sox.
Looking back at Toronto sports back in the early and mid 2000s is funny to me because none of the sports featured great teams but they featured some of the greatest athletes the city had ever seen.
The Toronto Raptors had Vince Carter, the Maple Leafs had Mats Sundin and of course the Blue Jays had Roy Halladay.
While they have playing for Toronto in common, another thing they have is all of them left for other teams.
Carter left for the Nets in 2004, Sundin reluctantly left the Leafs to join the Canucks and Halladay was traded away for greener pastures in Philadelphia.
Having a superstar player on a bad team year after year led to speculation on when and where the Blue Jays would ship Halladay off to.
The funny thing is whenever you trade your best player away, you almost never get anything back that could be close to what they provided.
So when he was finally traded away for Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor, it was incredibly bittersweet as a die hard Blue Jays fan.
On one hand it was obvious the Jays were nowhere close to being a competitive team in the AL East so trading him to a contender for a shot at a World Series was exciting as a pure Roy Halladay fan.
On the other hand, it was hard to see another legend leave the Toronto sports market.
It doesn’t help that Drabek, who was the key piece of the deal, never became anything and d’Arnaud was traded away a few years later for R.A. Dickey.
I have to admit I was happy to see him leave to a contender as good as the Phillies because I knew that there was absolutely no shot he would see the playoffs, let alone a World Series with the Blue Jays roster that was constructed.
Sure enough, Doc made it to the postseason and his first start was an absolute electric factory as he pitched a no hitter.
While that may have surprised a few people in the baseball community, to us Jays fans it wasn’t even close to being a shock.
While he never did win a World Series title, the memories he gave baseball fans, especially Blue Jays and Phillies fans, will forever be remembered by those who got a chance to witness his dominance.
While Canadians are still mourning for Gord Downie, and rightfully so, this one hurts a lot too.
Baseball in the 2000s wasn’t anywhere near as it as it is today and a lot of that has to do with the performance of the Blue Jays but Halladay was a reason to watch the Blue Jays every five days.
A lot of new Jays fans may not be able to recognize what kind of an impact Halladay has had on fans.
For me hockey was always number one. Since I could walk hockey was my first and biggest love but watching the Blue Jays and especially Doc during the summer had a huge impact on me.
It pushed me into wanting to play baseball once the hockey season ended and I will be eternally grateful for that.
It’s hard to write about someone you never knew personally, but having that connection through the TV still feels strong.
It’s hard to believe he’s gone but the legacy he has left will be felt moving forward across Canada and the U.S.
Thanks Doc for the 12 great years as a Blue Jay, RIP Roy Halladay 1977-2017.