Roy Halladay Deserves to Be a 1st-ballot Hall of Famer

Fans in Philadelphia didn't get to enjoy Roy Halladay for very long. He had two stellar seasons, followed by two injury-plagued years that ended his playing career.

Halladay died in an aircraft accident one year ago. On Monday, Halladay was named among 35 players on the ballot for the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame (see story).

Customarily, players have to wait five years for Hall of Fame eligibility. If a player dies, they're eligible six months after their death. There has been one exception to this rule in the last 65 years: Roberto Clemente was inducted in 1973, after dying in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972.

There are a handful of worthy names on this year's ballot. And while Roy Halladay was forced into early retirement at 36, he is a pitcher with virtually no equals during his 15-plus major league seasons.

Halladay's death last year hit the Philadelphia sports community hard. His starts with the Phillies were appointment viewing, the likes of which the city hadn't seen since Curt Schilling dominated teams in the 1990s.

And although fans in Philadelphia only saw two seasons of Halladay's excellence on the mound, his prime lasted a decade - the 2002 through the 2011 seasons.

Here are Halladay's ranks among all MLB pitchers during that span:

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Wins - 170 (1st)

Win percentage - .694 (1st)

Complete Games - 63 (1st - by 30!)

Shutouts - 18 (1st)

K/BB Ratio - 4.57 (1st)

ERA - 2.97 (2nd)

ERA+ - 148 (2nd)

Innings - 2194.2 (2nd)

He also made eight All-Star teams, won two Cy Young Awards and finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting seven times in that 10-year span.

From the years 1995 through 2017, Halladay has more complete games than any pitcher (67). Here's the thing: Halladay only pitched from 1998 through 2013.

Being the best pitcher in baseball for a season is a feat. Being the best pitcher in baseball for an entire decade is something that is truly special. Remember how great Tim Lincecum was at the start of his career? He also won two Cy Youngs. Lincecum didn't even make it to 10 full seasons in the big leagues before a degenerative hip injury derailed his career.

The end of Roy Halladay's baseball career, and his life, occurred far too soon. Voting him into the Baseball Hall of Fame next year would not be.

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