Born in 1977 in Denver, Colo., Halladay was the Blue Jays’ first-round pick (17 overall) in the 1995 major league amateur draft. On September 27, 1998, in his second big league start, he carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth and had two outs when Detroit Tigers pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson homered. Halladay finished the contest with a one-hitter in the Blue Jays’ 2-1 win.
The intense right-hander became a mainstay in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation beginning in July 2001 and he established himself as the team’s ace the following year when he won 19 games and led American League hurlers in innings pitched (239-1/3) and WAR (7.4) and was selected to his first All-Star team. Halladay would top that the ensuing campaign when he led the league in wins (22), innings pitched (266), complete games (9) and WAR (8.1). For his efforts, he became the third Blue Jay to capture the American League Cy Young Award (Pat Hentgen (1996), Roger Clemens (1997, 1998)).
Over his next six seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay was arguably the league’s best starter. With 20 wins in 2008, the 6-foot-6 righty became the second Blue Jay to record 20 wins in a season twice (Roger Clemens was the other). In all, in parts of 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay made a team-record seven Opening Day starts, led the American League in complete games five times (2003, 2005, 2007-09), innings pitched three times (2002, 2003, 2008) and was a six-time All-Star (2002-03, 2005-06, 2008-09). He finished his Blue Jays career with a 148-76 won/loss record – good for a .661 winning percentage, which is the best in franchise history. He also ranks second all-time amongst Blue Jays pitchers in wins (148), shutouts (15), strikeouts (1,495) and WAR (48.5).
On top of his on-field excellence, Halladay and his wife, Brandy, sponsored Doc’s Box at Rogers Centre, a program which invited children and families from the Hospital for Sick Children to watch a game in a private box at the stadium. Halladay also donated $100,000 a year to the Jays Care Foundation as part of his contract with the club. For his humanitarian efforts, Halladay was named the Blue Jays nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award multiple times and the club’s nominee for the Major League Baseball Players’ Association’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2008.
After being dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies in December 2009, Halladay continued his dominance in the National League, recording 21 wins and leading the circuit in innings pitched (250-2/3), complete games (9) and WAR (8.3) in 2010 to earn his second Cy Young Award. On May 29 of that season, he tossed a 20 perfect game in major league history and just over four months later, on October 6, he became the first National League pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs when he blanked the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game of the National League Division Series. For an encore with the Phillies, Halladay posted a 2.35 ERA and topped the National League in complete games (8) and WAR (8.9) and finished second in Cy Young Award voting in 2011.
In total, in his 16-year major league career, Halladay was selected to eight All-Star games, collected 203 wins and posted a .659 winning percentage, which ranks 19 all-time.
“Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day. My oldest son now 16 was born in Toronto and considers himself Canadian,” said Halladay. “It was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did. The people here were kind, supportive, respectful and always seemed to welcome me home even when I came to visit and sat in the wrong dugout. To be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is just another example of exceptional treatment I have received from Canada. I can’t explain the feelings that accompanied goose bumps every time you showed me how much I was appreciated and once again after getting word of this honour Canada has given me, those same feelings to go along with the goose bumps. Thank you!”