Halladay: Philly was the 'icing on the cake'

Halladay: Philly was the 'icing on the cake'
December 9, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Roy Halladay went 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA and 17 complete games in his first two seasons with the Phillies. (USA Today Images)

In the press conference Monday afternoon to announce his retirement as a Toronto Blue Jay, Roy Halladay acknowledged that his time with the Phillies was the "icing on the cake" to his 16-year major-league career.

Halladay, who won the NL Cy Young award in 2010, his first year here, had never reached the playoffs until being traded from the Blue Jays to the Phillies. And the very first time he took the mound in the playoffs, he made history at Citizens Bank Park by pitching the second playoff no-hitter ever.

"I really want to also reach out to the Phillies and tell them how much I appreciate everything they've done," Halladay said. "I was talking to a few people and, as much fun as I had in Toronto and as great an experience as that was -- and it was the bulk of my career -- Philadelphia was kind of the icing on the cake for me. And to have the chance to play there and play in the playoffs in that atmosphere was a blessing for me and my family."

Halladay is hanging up his cleats at age 36 (see story). From 2002-11, there wasn't a more dominant pitcher in the game. Halladay led all starting pitchers over that decade in wins (170), innings (2194 2/3), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.57), WAR (60.9) and complete games (63).

He was second over that span in ERA (2.97) and WHIP (1.111), to Johan Santana.

A true workhorse in a game devoid of them, Halladay had 30 more complete games than any pitcher in that 10-year span, and had more than 19 teams.

But he was never as locked in as he was in 2010 and 2011, when he went 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA, 17 complete games and five shutouts for the Phils, and tossed a perfect game on top of the playoff no-hitter.

"We're very fortunate to play in two of the greatest cities I could have played in," said an emotional Halladay. "And really, for not only the cities but the greatest people we could be involved with. Everywhere we went we ran across tremendous people, supportive people, and even the media. I was kind of dreading Philadelphia, but you guys (the media) aren't as bad as they say you are."

Halladay wasn't the same pitcher in his final two seasons. Years of leading the league in innings caught up to his shoulder, which began failing him midway through 2012 and required surgery in 2013.

Lingering in the game to give his re-worked arm and approach wasn't Halladay's wish. After so many years of missing time with his family, he decided to leave the game on his terms rather than play the market for one more contract.

"Along with the Blue Jays and Phillies hats I have my new team hats up here," he said. "These are the hats of my sons' teams. I'm helping out coaching, trying not to ruin 'em. I'm doing the best I can. These are my new family and my new teams."