The National Baseball Hall of Fame is set to announce its Class of 2019 on Tuesday, Jan. 22. In the days leading up to the announcement, theScore's MLB editors will preview players who look to be a lock to head into Cooperstown.
Player: Roy "Doc" Halladay
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (12 seasons), Philadelphia Phillies (4 seasons)
Position: Starting pitcher
Current age: Died in 2017, age 40
Year on ballot: 1st
Percentage of vote: 94.1% (Calculated by Ryan Thibodaux)
MLB seasons: 16
Cy Young: 2 (2003, 2010)
Complete games: 67
Perfect game: 1 (2010)
No-hitter: 1 (2010 postseason)
MLB wins leader: 2 (2003, 2010)
Doc was special. He was a workhorse starter in an era when it became less and less frequent. Since 1990, only three pitchers - Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Curt Schilling - have tallied more complete games than Halladay's 67. And he did it in only 390 starts and 2,749 1/3 innings, considerably fewer than any member of that trio.
Halladay died at 40, only a few years into retirement, in a plane crash. He left behind a legacy defined by professionalism, rigorous preparation, consistency, and intimidation. He was one of the only reasons to tune into Blue Jays broadcasts from 1998 through 2009.
A disastrous third season in 2000 stalled his early career, resulting in a demotion to Single-A after he posted a 10.64 ERA over 67 2/3 innings. He rebounded the following campaign, however, by going 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA (2.34 FIP) and 4.0 wins above replacement in a mere 105 1/3 innings. It was the beginning of a legendary run that is rightfully ending with a trip to Cooperstown in Halladay's first year of eligibility.
The near no-hitter
In only his second career start, Halladay nearly twirled a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers - only to have it broken up by a Bobby Higginson home run with two outs in the ninth inning. It was a hint at what would follow during his tremendous tenure north of the border, where he essentially became a folk hero during some otherwise lean years for the Blue Jays.
The 10-inning shutout
There was no team Halladay torched with routine ease more often than the Tigers. In addition to his first career complete game - and near no-hitter - Halladay compiled a 12-2 record with a 2.19 ERA over 119 innings against Detroit with six complete games to boot. Two of those went 10 innings, including the shutout (on only 99 pitches!) shown above from his dynamite 2003 campaign.
The farewell to Toronto
Halladay left Toronto on excellent terms. He finished the 2009 season with a shutout against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park but treated the Jays' faithful to a satisfying swan song a few days earlier, twirling his final complete-game shutout at Rogers Centre in his last home start before being traded in December.
The perfect game
Halladay made the most of his first season in the National League. Prior to his perfecto, he had already spun four complete games and it wasn't even the end of May. Then he struck out 11 Marlins and didn't allow a single baserunner in the most impressive outing of his career - all those years after nearly no-hitting the Tigers in his second pro start. Since this fateful day, there have only been three more perfect games thrown.
The postseason no-hitter
It's impossible to celebrate Halladay's career without acknowledging his postseason no-no in his very first playoff start. He allowed a single walk and proceeded to dismantle the Reds. He may never have won a World Series, but he's one of only two pitchers (the other being Don Larsen) to throw a no-hitter in the postseason.