If Roy Halladay were alive today, would he really want people arguing over which hat he should wear on his plaque in Cooperstown? It seems like a trivial thing to get worked up about – which logo gets encased in bronze on a player’s hat. The man is a Hall of Famer regardless.
On a few occasions, Doc himself said he wanted to be enshrined in a Blue Jays cap. He officially retired as a Blue Jay with that symbolic one-day contract on December 9th 2013. During that press conference, there were three caps on the table; a Blue Jays cap, a Phillies cap and the caps of his son’s teams.
Whether it was Toronto, Philadelphia or neither, it doesn’t matter which team he chose. That’s the family’s wish and it’s the correct decision because it’s their decision. Technically, it’s up to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but really, Brandy, Braden and Ryan Halladay get to choose.
It makes perfect sense why the Halladay family made this decision. If Roy went into Cooperstown as a Blue Jay, maybe the family felt in some small way, they wouldn’t be honouring the Phillies and Roy’s contributions as a member of that team. And if he went in as a Phillie, perhaps the family feels like they wouldn’t be properly celebrating Roy’s time in Toronto.
Brandy was right; Roy was more than a Blue Jay and more than a Phillie. He was one of the best of his generation.
The family doesn’t owe an explanation to anyone, but Brandy provided one anyway.
Brandy Halladay was flanked by her two sons following today's hall of fame press conference in New York.
After she revealed that the family's wishes are for Roy to go into Cooperstown not as a Blue Jay or Phillie, I asked her how they came upon the decision.
Her answer: pic.twitter.com/6G0fCobCMQ
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) January 23, 2019
It’s human nature, but we love to put labels on things. Every few years, fans and writers agonize about which cap a baseball player is going to wear in the Hall of Fame because we want to associate that player with one team. We want to identify that player as a lifetime member of “team X”.
Frankly, I think this exercise exists merely to get fans and writers riled up about a decision which is ultimately made by the Hall of Fame. If you polled the players, I’m confident they’d admit the cap choice isn’t a monumental decision. Getting there, reaching the pinnacle of Cooperstown is the accomplishment. The team on the cap is irrelevant.
Halladay isn’t in the Hall of Fame because of the teams he played for. He’s a Hall of Famer because he earned it – by being one of the best pitchers of his era.
Does this decision by the Halladay family change anything about Roy’s accomplishments? Does it taint his legacy? Does it make him any less of a Blue Jay or a Phillie? The answer to all of the above is “no”. Roy and the Halladay family owe nothing to the Blue Jays or Phillies because he gave his heart and soul to those teams.
For the most part, the Baseball Hall of Fame honours individuals. Whether some people want to admit it or not, baseball is a game of one-on-one battles and individual accomplishments. Often, the focus lands on the organization when the attention should be paid to the individual.
Once the Halladay family announced this decision, nobody should feel slighted. Even when Roy was alive, he expressed his desire to be a Blue Jay in Cooperstown. But we don’t know what conversations were had – perhaps while Roy was alive – maybe it was after. It’s the family’s decision.
If we’re speaking on behalf of the Blue Jays fan base, he was one of our own. He was drafted and developed by the Blue Jays organization. He was the epitome of a “true blue” Toronto Blue Jays player. When most people close their eyes, they imagine Halladay in a Blue Jays uniform.
Halladay had a relatively short stint in Philadelphia, four seasons in total. Those two years with the Phillies in 2010 and 2011 were so utterly dominant that I can see why the family may have felt they’d be betraying one fan base by not honouring the other.
At his peak, Halladay was stellar as a Blue Jay and he was stellar as a Phillie. He won a Cy Young award in both leagues, something only six pitchers have accomplished in baseball history.
Just because Halladay doesn’t have a logo on his cap in Cooperstown, it doesn’t mean he’s going to be any less beloved by the Blue Jays or Phillies organizations. Minor Leaguer said it best: “I am happy to be able to share Roy Halladay’s legacy with his fans in Philadelphia.”
I am happy to be able to share Roy Halladay's legacy with his fans in Philadelphia. https://t.co/IJn2Bq6Zsg
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) January 23, 2019
Everyone knows that Halladay is revered in Canada, but it just goes to show you how well-respected he was by the Phillies organization and fan base. Halladay wasn’t there very long – he wasn’t drafted and developed by the Phillies – he arrived in Philadelphia as a finished product. A perfectly polished baseball specimen.
Just because he was in a Blue Jays uniform longer, that doesn’t mean people in Toronto or Canada love Halladay more. He was beloved equally. Ultimately, it’s the family’s call and whatever their decision was, it’s the right one.
We had the privilege of watching Halladay pitch for 16 years, both in a Blue Jays uniform and in a Phillies uniform. Thanks to his tireless work ethic, he owed nothing to either organization. If anything, we owe something to Roy.
Halladay made a lasting impact on both the Blue Jays and Phillies fan bases. Regardless of the lack of a team cap on his plaque, his contributions will continue to live on in Cooperstown forever.