When it was announced Roy Halladay had died after his single-man plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico Nov. 7, not only had Canadian baseball fans lost one of their greatest treasures, but the entire baseball community had lost one of the all-time best.
Growing up in ‘90s and getting more into baseball in the early 2000s, it was tough being a Toronto Blue Jays fan. Gone were the days of storied World Series wins and the fabled teams led by the likes of Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter and Dave Stieb, but one player still made it cool to be a Jays fan and that was the man we affectionately called ‘Doc.’
Any Jays fan will admit the 2000s were a tough span for the team we loved so dearly, with the team missing the Major League Baseball (MLB) post-season each year from 1995 to 2014. Although there were some players for us to look up to and call our favourites, none were as respected by the fan base, as well as the rest of the baseball community, as Halladay.
He was the kind of player you just knew would come into any season and be as dominant a pitcher in the MLB as any. He lived up to those expectations, with seven of his 12 seasons in Toronto being 15-plus win years for him.
Doc went on to cement himself in our hearts as the 2003 Cy Young Award Winner in an era when he went up against the hired hitters of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox more than any other team in the league.
In my opinion, Halladay is the greatest Blue Jay of all-time and that isn’t a knock against Alomar or Steib, but I never got to see those guys play. I got to watch Doc throughout most of his career in Toronto and when he was finally traded to a contender in 2010 when he joined the Philadelphia Phillies.
Halladay may have been an American through and through, growing up in Denver, Col., and making his permanent home in Florida after he retired, but he became a household name due to his performance in Canada.
What he did for young baseball fans like myself will always be remembered fondly and will forever be missed.