Yesterday afternoon, Roy Halladay decided to call it a career. While he may not have gone out on top of his profession, he went out with dignity. Most superstars in sport cling to whatever energy may be left in the tank and attempt to drain every last drop out of a career for monetary gain or historical perspective, but the man nicknamed “Doc” has seen his 16-year odyssey come to a close.
Another rarity in today’s culture is to be able to stick to just one or two organizations and have a profound impact on each. The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Halladay in the first round in 1995 and he spent the next 14 seasons north of the border before finally heading back to the states and specifically, Philadelphia.
The transition from the American League to the National League certainly did not faze Doc as he was the National League’s Cy Young his first season and finished sixth in MVP Voting. Following that up, he nearly won the award again, finishing second, but reminding everyone in baseball that he was as dominant a force as there had been during this era.
Fortunately, for Reds fans everywhere, the majority of Doc’s career took place over in the American League where the Reds very sparingly got a glimpse at him. That all changed when the Philadelphia Phillies decided that they were going to go for back-to-back championships in 2010 and added the game’s most lethal ace. It had been since the year that Halladay was drafted that the Reds had made a true postseason appearance (1999 notwithstanding). It just so happened that thanks to the brilliantly illogical ruling of Wild Card winning teams not being allowed to play division rivals in the first round, the Reds drew the straw of Doc when Game 1 of the NLDS came around.
With a lineup featuring names that seem like distant memories; Drew Stubbs, Orlando Cabrera, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez all suffered the same fates as franchise cornerstones Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips on this night, they went hitless. It of course had been 54 years since Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers where Larsen threw the only no-hitter or perfect game in Major League Baseball Postseason history. On a chilly night in Philadelphia, Roy Halladay became the second man to ever accomplish the feat, when he no-hit the Reds.
Thankfully, the organization has rebounded from the clobbering that they took in 2010 and while the hangover took over a year to complete, the Redlegs raised the division crown in 2012. After consecutive 90 win seasons, what the Reds have accomplished over the past two years should not go unappreciated. Teams ebb and flow over time in baseball, that is simply how the game works, much like how life works. There are seasons when fans cannot bear to watch and it is those very same seasons that make winning even more satisfying; just ask fans of the Astros, or anything other organization in flux.
Even though he did put the Reds on the wrong end of one of the most illustrious moments in baseball history, we can all tip our cap and wave goodbye to Roy “Doc” Halladay, who unquestionably should be getting a call from Cooperstown in the future.