Halladay_ Killed_ in Plane Crash! This_ Isn’t a Hall of Fame Ballot

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, November 7.

In the lingo of the locker room, this is a “horseshit” way to start the offseason.  Roy Halladay, who authored both a no-hitter and a perfect game in 2010 was killed this afternoon when his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

He began life as Harry Leroy Halladay of Denver.  Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheeck started calling him Doc after Doc Holliday of Wild West fame once Roy reached the bigs.  Ironically, the great pitcher is dead at 40 after living only 4 more years than the dentist and gunslinger who had tuberculosis over 100 years ago. Twitter is blowing up with messages of shock and grief over a man who so recently stood tall on the pitcher’s mound in Philadelphia’s bandbox ball park.  His career ended just 4 years ago, at the end of 2013. Before injuries got the better of him he went 170–75 in his best years, from 2002–2011.  This awesome success netted him 2 Cy Young awards and 8 trips to the All-Star game. 3 times he led his sport in wins. In this day when managers tap into largely ineffective bull pens at the drop of a hat, Halladay fired 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. He victimized the Marlins for his perfect game in May 2010 and bested the Reds in the playoffs that year for a play-off no-hitter. No man had fired 2 no-hitters in a year since Nolan Ryan pulled it off in 1973. Halladay’s shoulder betrayed him when he was still at the peak of his powers and, given the difficult road starters have that injury may keep him out of Cooperstown.

We know  Halladay was piloting an Icon A5 aircraft when he met his maker this afternoon.  The plane is categorized as an “Amphibious light-sport aircraft,” and one of only 7 of its kind to be built. Its interior was designed by the makers of BMW automobiles-another plaything of the rich. I have repeatedly said publicly that if celebrities must fly, they should have to fly as passengers on regular planes piloted by professional pilots.  I wouldn’t ask a pilot to take the hill against the Dodgers, Cubs or Astros so why should one of the game’s best pitchers and a valuable pitching instructor risk his life at the controls of a plane he got because of his celebrity status. Now, like Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Buddy Holly, John Denver and former Yankee catcher Thurman Munson, all we can do is pray for his family. Like the others, Halladay belongs to history because he was in the wrong light aircraft on the wrong day. RIP Roy “Doc” Halladay.

Yesterday the most recent Hall of Fame ballot came out and it would have gotten its own space but for the calamity off the coast of Florida today. The ballot is frankly an embarrassment to what Cooperstown is supposed to be.  It should be the shrine of the greatest, not the shrine of the “pretty good.”   Two names-Tommy John and Jack Morris should have been elected years ago, and since they weren’t I fear they won’t be again. They are the only two I would even consider, and as I said if I had a vote they would have been in long ago.  The other 8 names are 7 mediocrities and one villain who never played the game. Steve Garvey, lawyer Marvin Miller, Don Mattingly, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, Luis Tiant and Allen Trammell all should have been stricken from the ballot years ago for lack of interest.  Every year somebody says the rabble-rouser Miller should be elected. It’s thanks to him that we have millionaire diva ball players who have the luxury to end themselves as Jose Fernandez did in 2016 and Roy Halladay has done today.   Players were working joes rather than overpaid, steroid-abusing divas before Miller stuck his head where it didn’t belong. The best of them, such as Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer did commercials.  Can you imagine Clayton Kershaw or Jake Arrieta doing a TV commercial today? Phil Rizzuto, the great shortstop and broadcaster sold suits in the offseason.  That’s unimaginable for today’s player.  Of all the unworthy names on the ballot Miller is the most unworthy.  His name belongs with Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose rather than among the greats of the game enshrined in Cooperstown.

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