Roy Halladay: Is He a Hall of Famer?

6 years 9 months ago #620 by Darryl Tahirali
Roy Halladay announced his retirement today (December 9, 2013). Is he a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher?

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6 years 9 months ago #624 by Committee Chairman
Absolutely....

He had the dominating seasons, was considered among the top five for a long time, and though he falls short for some on accumulative stats on the traditional side, his bWAR more than makes up for it. He also has that playoff perfect game, giving him a "moment", that is important for some voters (i admit i am a big moment guy)

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6 years 9 months ago #626 by Darryl Tahirali
Committee Chairman, I agree--Halladay is a legitimate Hall of Fame pitcher.

I ask the question, though, because I think that thinking about the Hall is going to have to change.

He had the dominating seasons, was considered among the top five for a long time, and though he falls short for some on accumulative stats on the traditional side, his bWAR more than makes up for it.


This is my purpose for asking whether he is a HoFer. Given the high talent compression that is likely to be the way baseball is going to be for some time, players are not going to be hanging around for 20 years, piling up counting numbers for their Hall case in their final seasons--because they will be replaced. So, those dominating seasons, those top-five finishes, are going to be more critical. That in turn means that evaluating a career will necessitate looking beyond the obvious indicators.

One aspect to this is realizing that "dominant" doesn't always mean "league-leading." This is again because of high talent compression: There more dominant players, meaning that their league-leading dominance gets spread around. There are exceptions, of course--Miguel Cabrera has led the AL in batting average three years in a row, the first time in the AL since Wade Boggs did it from 1985 to 1988 (we'll see next year whether Miggy can match Boggs's four-year stretch), and the first time in the majors since Tony Gwynn did it from 1994 to 1997 (ditto regarding four years consecutively). But even an elite hitter such as Albert Pujols--who has already proved to be one of game's greatest-ever all-around hitters--does not top all the categories with regularity. And we'll need to see whether his period of elite dominance is gone for good or whether he can rebound (in any event--boy, did the Angels overbuy!). Given the high talent compression, we might have seen the last of the sheer awesomeness Pujols could generate; he (and we) might have to settle for mere excellence. And these are two of the best players, Cabrera and Pujols, of the last decade. What about when it comes to evaluating those closer to the borderline?

He also has that playoff perfect game, giving him a "moment", that is important for some voters (i admit i am a big moment guy)


Big moments are important--Jack Morris has his Hall of Fame case built on one. . . . Seriously, though, I agree. Those who have read my baseball analyses know that I'm a stat geek, but those stats are ultimately only a reflection of the drama and the conflict that happens during the game. And you can't get any bigger drama and conflict than the postseason. But unlike the only other pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, Don Larsen, Roy Halladay has the rest of his career to back up his case.

But even Halladay is not immune to high compression. A couple of years ago, a good sportswriter named Christina Kahrl stated, about Halladay, that "it's his world and we just live in it." This was after his terrific 2011 campaign with the Phillies, and it seemed to be a fair statement. What happened? He fell off the cliff in 2012, and this year, with the surgery, was another less-than-elite season. Then he retired. But by then he'd already set the bar for what a Hall of Fame pitcher of this era should look like.

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6 years 9 months ago #630 by Committee Chairman
I think you summed up better than anyone in one of your articles what a win really means for a pitcher!

For me, i am a big believer in regular top five finishes in major categories. I would far rather have an ace on my staff for three years than a number 3 slightly above average hurler for twelve. Frankly, i think if there was never a time in your career that a case could not be made that you were in the discussion to be in top three in your position (regardless of the sport) for at minimum two seasons, then you have no business being in the HOF.

That would eliminate a lot of players IMO in all of the major Halls.

I had to laugh out loud reading about Pujols. Every time i see that contract in print, i always remember Mrs. Pujols going on St. Louis radio after the signing ripping Cardinals ownership....i what i attribute to proof of the "Nothing good comes out of athletes wives talking to the media" rule

As for my moment bit..... I know i cling to it far too much, but i fall pray to sporting emotion. Hell, if i had HOF power as a Jays fan, i would make a case every year for Joe Carter!

Halladay did fall of that cliff didn't he? I recall a tweet from a friend of mine who is a diehard Phillies fan on the day that Doc was going to start. two hours before the game, he tweeted that Phila was already down by three....which incidentally was how many runs he allowed in the first two frames!

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6 years 9 months ago #637 by Darryl Tahirali
This is a good point: Those top-five finishes and other similar standards are going to be more critical in upcoming assessments.

As for my moment bit..... I know i cling to it far too much, but i fall pray to sporting emotion. Hell, if i had HOF power as a Jays fan, i would make a case every year for Joe Carter!


As Bob Costas put it, "Touch 'em all, Joe! You'll never hit another homer as big in your life!"

Although I've never been a big Jays fan, I was born in Toronto and usually pay attention when Toronto sports makes the news. (I am a Leafs fan; please don't mention Game Seven of last year's quarterfinals.) I did watch their appearances in the 1992 and 1993 World Series; in fact, that is what got me back into baseball after not following it for some time. Game Four of the '93 Series was probably the most exciting comebacks I'd seen up to that time. And I can still remember what a rush it was to see Carter hit that homer in Game Six.

I think just about everyone falls prey to sporting emotion--that is one of the main reasons, if not the main one, why people watch. "The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat," as ABC's Wide World of Sports put it.

Joe Carter's is one of those Hall of Fame moments--if the moment itself could be enshrined. That's what makes baseball, or any other sport, so exciting: at that moment, that athlete is at the top of the game. Bill Mazeroski's home run to end the 1960 World Series in the Pirates' favor was probably a big factor in his being selected by the Veterans Committee for the Hall. He was one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball history, but it is the rare Hall of Famer who gets in for his glove only, and his iconic home run must have helped.

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6 years 9 months ago #640 by Committee Chairman
Sometimes i cling to that moment thing too much though. Every year, i hopr for Paul Henderson to get the nod for the Hockey Hall of Fame, who pro wise has no business being in the HOF, but his performance and winning goal in the 72 Summit series put Canada on the map in athletics. He did just get into the IIHF HOF, but it isn't the same.

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6 years 9 months ago #641 by Darryl Tahirali
Henderson's is very much a "Don Larsen" moment--he came up big on the biggest stage you can get. Or maybe it's a "Scott Brosius" or "Jim Leyritz" moment, as Larsen had one game but the other two were good throughout the series, like Henderson.

That's why it's the Hall of Fame though--you've got to be very good for a very long time.

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6 years 9 months ago #642 by Committee Chairman
I guess as a Canadian, i can't help but fly his flag. His goal meant more to a country than anything Larsen or Brosius did. I guess i look at this way...Henderson was good enough to represent the greatest country in hockey,where as if the Baseball Classic took place when Larsen and Brosius played, not only would they have been left off the roster, they would not even have been considered to represent the USA. Again....i am on my "moment" soapbox!

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6 years 9 months ago #643 by Darryl Tahirali

His goal meant more to a country than anything Larsen or Brosius did.


You're absolutely right. Even as I typed my last post, I thought, this isn't a very good parallel, and it's not. What I was going for was the idea of the journeyman who rises to the occasion on the biggest stage possible, with not just a sport's reputation but a nation's sense of identity and self-worth on the line--and there is no American parallel.

As I was typing I was thinking about the 1972 Summit Series and how there isn't much to compare it to. I don't remember it first-hand, but its impact has of course been felt ever since. I'm a Canadian too, and having lived in the States for a while I've seen how Americans take for granted that they will usually be "number one" in so many things, and how they don't know how it feels not to be in that position, to have to forge an identity and a sense of belonging in the world when you're not the dominant country on the planet. The irony is that, not to belittle or stereotype but it's true, too many Americans are unaware of much of the world. Over the years I've had to do a lot of explaining about Canada (and other places I've lived) because many Americans' knowledge is lacking; meanwhile, I can still remember Grade Eleven in Victoria and having to take a year of American history because we had to know about "our neighbour to the south." (I live within a 100 miles of Mexico, and general understanding about that country among Anglos is pretty limited too.)

So, even though I may be immersed in Americana these days, and I may lose sight of roots and history now and then, I understand what you mean, and I certainly should have come up with--well, I don't know if there is a good parallel for what Paul Henderson did for Canada. Maybe Nadia Comaneci in the 1976 Summer Olympics, when she made the world notice Romania.

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6 years 9 months ago #644 by Committee Chairman
Now you got me thinking about an article or a piece...... important sporting events in each country's history or something similar.

My father is not a sports fan at all, and we constantly bicker about the importance of it to a nation...right or wrong. I think about this a lot with the Winter Olympics coming up and how much Canadian pride we had during Vancouver when we had our best performance ever. Does it really change anything in the country? No, but it alters our perception of who we are. As a kid, i never had a lot of Canadian patriotism, and i think our performance in athletics was part of that. After all, we are the only country to host two Olympics (76 Montreal and 88 Calgary) and fail to win a Gold.

Maybe you remember this, but at the end of a tv schedule for Global, CTV or whatever Canadian channel, they would play the National Anthem with a montage including at the end a top sporting moment.

That moment (and why they did not go with Henderson is beyond me...must have been a rights thing) was Greg Joy doing the High Jump in the 76 Olympics where he won.....Silver.

I hated watching us celebrate being number 2 in our own National Anthem, which may have been why as a kid i wanted to be an American. Now, I can't imagine being anything else, and i honestly think that as our stature in world athletics has grown, so has our patriotism. I don't think i was immune to that at all..

Did you ever see the CBC top 100 Canadians of all time?

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