There’s a new Roy Halladay documentary hitting the streets soon so this seems like the perfect time to look back at his 2003 Cy Young season where he was without a doubt the best pitcher on planet Earth and it wasn’t even close. Do you want to know how I know it wasn’t even close? Esteban Loaiza came in second place.
Roy Halladay made his first major league start on September 20th, 1998 for the Toronto Blue Jays where he pitched 5 innings and gave up 8 hits, 2 earned runs with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. Not a bad debut for the 21-year old rookie but the Devil Rays still got 8 hits off him.
Sooooo yea, he immediately followed that up with a complete game giving up only one home run in the 6th inning to Bobby Higginson in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Second career start was a complete game where he struck out 8 batters and only gave up one run and one hit. Turns out, he’s really fucking good at throwing baseballs. Who knew?
Let’s fast forward to the 2003 season. Roy Halladay is coming off his first All-Star selection the year prior and managed to fix a slight mechanical flaw he had against lefties:
Halladay and pitching coach Gil Patterson fixed a minor flaw in the righthander’s delivery that caused his breaking pitches to hang against lefthanded hitters. “It wasn’t an ‘Oh, my God, here it is’ kind of thing,” Toronto G.M. J.P. Ricciardi says. “He figured out what he needed to do and corrected himself. He didn’t panic. Doc’s proof that good things happen to those who work hard.”
In 2003, Halladay led the league with 266 innings pitched and NINE (9) complete games and 2 shut outs. He also led the league with a 6.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That’s 204 strikeouts to only 32 walks. King shit.
His best performance came on September 6th against the Detroit Tigers when he threw a 10 inning shut out giving up only 3 hits with 5 K’s and 1 walk. Who loves killing innocent tigers more: Roy Halladay or Joe Exotic?
Halladay would go on to finish the year with 22 wins and his first career Cy Young trophy earning 97% of the first place votes. Again, it wasn’t even close. He was the best pitcher on the planet. The only pitcher that came close to his dominance that season was Eric Gagne and he pitched an inning a night. I don’t even care about the steroids but do not compare a closer to the guy that led the league with 1,071 batters faced.
All while wearing one of the weirdest sports logos on his jersey every day.
Why was this a thing?