Roy Halladay, Phillies Hall of Famer?

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.

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6 comments

  1. LarryM

    February 17, 2010 11:26 AM

    Belated comment on the case for Utley.

    I think the graphs, properly interpreted, actually support his case. His peak is very high compared to other second basemen – evaluated just on peak value, he is not just a Hall of Famer, but an inner circle Hall of Famer. His problem may be his overall totals, and the “tail.” IMO neither are low enough to outweigh the stellar peak.

    That said, he has two (or three) strikes against him. Firstly, he is the kind of player that looks better from an analytical perspective than a “traditional” perspective (though by the time he retires, I expect the voters will be much more analytically oriented). Secondly, I tend to think that voters might be a little less “peak” oriented than I am.

    Finally, as Bill James pointed out a few years ago, the long term result of expansion will be to raise the standards for admission to the HOF. There has been a long delay on this for complex reasons, but I think the flood of candidates starting in a couple of years is a result of this and will become the norm.

  2. Bill

    February 17, 2010 01:23 PM

    On Utley:
    I think he has a good chance, but it’s really the next 5 years or so that matters. If he can stay in the 5-7 WAR range for 4-5 more years, he should be fine, given the higher appreciation for defense and OBP in this era. Utley also has a few extra points that are not in that analysis : World Series ring and 2 WS appearances (5 home runs in one, while sort of meaningless, still is memorable to some people). He also has been the best defensive player in the MLB over the past 3 years, according to fangraphs…

    On Halladay:
    It’s really 11 season in Toronto. He only pitched 14 innings in 1998. A few postseason legends would help his case in Philadelphia. Plus, guys like Halladay tend to hold up. He might pitch 10 more years!

  3. JRVJ

    February 17, 2010 06:34 PM

    Just saw this post.

    No offense, but I would tend to say that if Halladay brings a WS (or two) to Philly, nobody will be too bitter if he gets inducted into the HoF as a Jay.

    (And FWIW, if Halladay does get the Phils a ring or two, he’s getting his number retired in PHiladelphia, which is a pretty good accomplishment in and of itself).

  4. Eggshmeg

    February 17, 2010 11:12 PM

    Why? Why did you have to write about such a horrible thing?

    Phillies only have nine HoFers? Oh boo hoo. Guess how many the Jays have? We NEED this one. Halladay is a slam dunk for the Jays.

  5. derekcarstairs

    February 18, 2010 06:19 AM

    As much as I would like to say Phillies, I think Halladay likely would go in as a Blue Jay.

    Regarding the HOF, Halladay must continue to perform at a very high level during his current Phils’ contract to be a lock.

    Regarding the HOF and current Phillies besides Halladay, we can begin to talk Utley, Howard and Rollins, but all three are several years away from serious consideration.

    I think Utley must maintain his great play of the last 5 years over the next 5-7 years as a 2B. If he can pick up an MVP award along the way, that would be a big help.

    Howard has played four full years and averaged 50 HRs per. If he averages 45 per over the next four seasons, Howard will be at 400 HRs entering his age 34 season (2014). Let’s see if he achieves that goal; then we will have a better idea of his HOF chances.

    Since Rollins became a full-time SS at 22, he has a shot at reaching some lofty career totals in hits, runs, doubles, triples and stolen bases. It will take another 6 years or so before we can gauge whether or not he has enough left in his tank to reach those lofty totals.

  6. NJ Baseball

    February 18, 2010 01:31 PM

    Halladay isn’t a Hall of Famer yet, but he will be. If he pitches at this level for several more years, he’s in. As a Blue Jay.

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