Andre Dawson was recently elected to the Hall of Fame, which in and of itself caused some controversy. Many felt that while he was a great hitter, he didn’t merit Hall of Fame inclusion not unlike Jim Rice. The other controversy that came about revolved around the logo on the cap that would adorn his head on his plaque — it will be of the Montreal Expos and not the Chicago Cubs.
It makes sense — after all, he spent 11 of his 17 seasons in Montreal. He won his Rookie of the Year award, three of his four Silver Sluggers, six of his eight Gold Gloves, and twice finished second in MVP balloting as an Expo. As a Chicago Cub, he won his only MVP award, but earned just one Silver Slugger and two Gold Gloves.
However, I am not writing this to opine or offer solutions on the matter. I bring it up as an example of a controversy that may once again arise at the end of Roy Halladay’s career.
Halladay has spent his last twelve seasons in Major League Baseball in Canada as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He is now a Phillie until at least 2013 and most likely ’14 assuming his option is used. In all likelihood, barring a monumental failure of a stint in Philadelphia, Halladay will sign an extension towards the end of his current contract to stay in the City of Brotherly Love. That may extend his tenure in Philadelphia to 2016 when he would be 39 years old.
If he retires before his age 40 season and the Phillies have kept him, that will mean he’ll have spent twelve seasons in Toronto and seven in Philadelphia. Dawson spent eleven in Montreal, six in Chicago, and two each in Boston and Florida.
When he retires, Roy Halladay is close to being a lock for the Hall of Fame. He was and still is an anomaly, having notched 49 complete games in his career in an era in which bullpens are used more than ever. In the 2000′s, only 35 pitchers racked up at least five complete games in one season for a total of 52 pitcher-seasons. Roy Halladay owns four of those (8%). Furthermore, only eight pitchers in the 2000′s have tossed at least four shut-outs in a season; Halladay is one of them, accomplishing the feat last year.
Halladay’s career .661 winning percentage is 18th on the all-time leaderboard. By the time he retires, he could be in the 250 win club (which has 46 members) and the 3,000 strikeout club (15 members). His career ERA+ is 133, tied for 27th on the all-time list.
It is rational to assume that Roy Halladay will have a solid Hall of Fame case at the end of his career. That, of course, will bring up the speculation as to which hat Halladay will wear on his plaque. As a Blue Jay, he made the All-Star team six times and won a Cy Young and finished in the top-five on four other occasions (the last four years, actually).
He has, however, never reached the post-season. Not his fault, of course, but almost all Hall of Fame pitchers have some post-season success on their resumes. If Halladay helps the Phillies reach the post-season on multiple occasions and pitches well in his playoff appearances (winning a World Series would really help), and if he can make a few All-Star teams, and if he can earn some Cy Young votes (the hardware would, again, really help), then a legitimate case can be made that he should go into the Hall of Fame with a Phillies cap.
At present, there are only nine Phillies who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame with a Phillies cap:
- Jim Bunning, 1996
- Richie Ashburn, 1995
- Mike Schmidt, 1995
- Steve Carlton, 1994
- Chuck Klein, 1980
- Robin Roberts, 1976
- Sam Thompson, 1974
- Billy Hamilton, 1961
- Harry Wright, 1953
You can imagine why it would be important to the franchise to have a player inducted into the Hall of Fame with the team’s logo. At present, no active Phillie has a very strong case for the Hall of Fame, but Chase Utley likely has the best chance. If and when the argument does come up, it will give Philadelphia a whole new reason to feel bitter about the city of Toronto.