The Doctor is out – Roy Halladay calls it a career

Roy Halladay retired yesterday after signing a one-day contract with his long-time team, the Toronto Blue Jays. A classy touch by a classy pro.

More on the good Doctor after the jump.

First, the superlatives. Among his contemporaries with 1500 IP since 1998, these are Halladay’s Top 10 rankings.

  • IP – 2749 (6th)
  • 200 IP seasons – 8 (4th)
  • ERA+ – 131 (6th)
  • 150 ERA+ seasons – 5 (1st)
  • 125 ERA+ seasons – 7 (1st)
  • Wins – 203 (4th) (but only two wins behind 1st)
  • 20 Win seasons – 3 (1st)
  • 15 Win seasons – 8 (1st)
  • W-L% – .659 (3rd)
  • .700 W-L% seasons – 5 (2nd)
  • .600 W-L% seasons – 9 (2nd)
  • CG – 67 (1st)
  • Shutouts – 20 (1st)
  • Strikeouts – 2117 (6th)
  • 200 SO seasons – 5 (3rd)
  • BB/9 – 1.84 (8th)
  • BB/9 < 2 seasons – 7 (2nd)
  • BB/9 < 3 seasons – 8 (9th)
  • WHIP – 1.178 (9th)
  • WHIP < 1.1 seasons – 4 (2nd)
  • WHIP < 1.2 seasons – 7 (1st)
  • HR/9 – 0.77 (6th)
  • HR/9 < 1 seasons – 8 (6th)
  • Top 10 in all of the above – ONLY ONE

Halladay’s 200 wins and .650+ winning percentage puts him in exclusive company among a handful of all-time greats since 1893.

Rk Player ERA+ W L W-L% SO/BB WHIP From To Age G GS CG SHO IP ERA Tm
1 Pedro Martinez 154 219 100 .687 4.15 1.054 1992 2009 20-37 476 409 46 17 2827.1 2.93 LAD-MON-BOS-NYM-PHI
2 Lefty Grove 148 300 141 .680 1.91 1.278 1925 1941 25-41 616 457 298 35 3940.2 3.06 PHA-BOS
3 Roger Clemens 143 354 184 .658 2.96 1.173 1984 2007 21-44 709 707 118 46 4916.2 3.12 BOS-TOR-HOU-NYY
4 Christy Mathewson 135 373 188 .665 2.96 1.058 1900 1916 19-35 636 552 435 79 4788.2 2.13 NYG-TOT
5 Whitey Ford 133 236 106 .690 1.80 1.215 1950 1967 21-38 498 438 156 45 3170.1 2.75 NYY
6 Roy Halladay 131 203 105 .659 3.58 1.178 1998 2013 21-36 416 390 67 20 2749.1 3.38 TOR-PHI
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/9/2013.

Unlike the other pitchers on the list above, Halladay never played for a league champion, and toiled mainly for mediocre clubs throughout his career. His .661 W-L% with Toronto is more than 150 points higher than the team’s .503 mark during his time as a Blue Jay.

Halladay’s combination of power and control also places him in elite company. He is one of only 5 pitchers with 2500 IP and a SO/BB ratio more than 3 times as high as WHIP.

Rk Player ERA+ SO/9 BB/9 HR/9 SO/BB WHIP IP From To Age G GS CG SHO W L W-L%
1 Pedro Martinez 154 10.04 2.42 0.76 4.15 1.054 2827.1 1992 2009 20-37 476 409 46 17 219 100 .687
2 Roy Halladay 131 6.93 1.94 0.77 3.58 1.178 2749.1 1998 2013 21-36 416 390 67 20 203 105 .659
3 Curt Schilling 127 8.60 1.96 0.96 4.38 1.137 3261.0 1988 2007 21-40 569 436 83 20 216 146 .597
4 Bret Saberhagen 126 6.02 1.65 0.77 3.64 1.141 2562.2 1984 2001 20-37 399 371 76 16 167 117 .588
5 Mike Mussina 123 7.11 1.98 0.95 3.58 1.192 3562.2 1991 2008 22-39 537 536 57 23 270 153 .638
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

Halladay was known as a big game pitcher and the numbers bear out that reputation. His Sep/Oct ERA was two-thirds of a run better than his overall ERA, placing him in the top 25 of all pitchers with 2000 IP since 1916, and in the top 10 for pitchers with 2500 IP.

Rk Player Split G ERA ERAtot Diff W L W-L% GS CG SHO IP IPtot
1 Andy Benes Sept/Oct 67 2.90 3.97 -1.07 31 18 .633 63 3 0 413.1 2505.1
2 Art Nehf Sept/Oct 76 2.30 3.23 -0.93 33 17 .660 53 36 10 477.1 2628.2
3 Mike Mussina Sept/Oct 88 2.86 3.68 -0.82 44 21 .677 87 16 7 588.2 3562.2
4 Eddie Rommel Sept/Oct 92 2.74 3.54 -0.80 40 22 .645 48 35 5 518.2 2554.2
5 Paul Derringer Sept/Oct 101 2.72 3.47 -0.75 45 35 .563 82 53 7 699.0 3642.2
6 Dave Stewart Sept/Oct 92 3.22 3.95 -0.73 32 22 .593 63 15 1 487.0 2629.2
7 Curt Simmons Sept/Oct 106 2.82 3.54 -0.72 35 23 .603 69 26 9 552.0 3348.1
8 CC Sabathia Sept/Oct 68 2.92 3.60 -0.68 33 19 .635 68 6 1 471.0 2775.1
9 Roy Halladay Sept/Oct 69 2.71 3.38 -0.67 35 14 .714 67 15 8 452.0 2749.1
10 Don Drysdale Sept/Oct 90 2.29 2.95 -0.66 36 22 .621 79 26 15 584.1 3432.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

Halladay’s .714 W-L% in Sep/Oct ranks 5th since 1916 among pitchers with 2000 IP, and 2nd among those with 2500 IP.

Rk Player Split G W-L% W-L%tot W L ERA GS GF CG SHO SV IP IPtot
1 Randy Johnson Sept/Oct 102 .750 .606 51 17 2.97 96 2 15 4 0 667.0 4135.1
2 Firpo Marberry Sept/Oct 92 .744 .627 29 10 3.53 37 40 21 1 16 380.0 2065.1
3 Johan Santana Sept/Oct 49 .741 .641 20 7 2.58 36 0 1 1 0 262.0 2025.2
4 Hoyt Wilhelm Sept/Oct 189 .720 .540 36 14 2.07 8 117 5 1 44 403.2 2254.2
5 Roy Halladay Sept/Oct 69 .714 .659 35 14 2.71 67 1 15 8 0 452.0 2749.1
6 Roy Oswalt Sept/Oct 71 .714 .615 35 14 3.00 62 2 4 4 0 413.1 2245.1
7 Marty Pattin Sept/Oct 81 .711 .511 27 11 2.53 45 22 18 5 8 420.1 2038.2
8 Ron Guidry Sept/Oct 74 .704 .651 38 16 3.28 63 5 20 5 1 472.2 2392.0
9 Bob Shawkey Sept/Oct 79 .696 .569 39 17 2.66 56 18 34 6 6 497.1 2405.1
10 Whitey Ford Sept/Oct 89 .695 .690 41 18 2.48 76 8 30 2 5 565.0 3170.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

Halladay was also a noted Yankee killer. His ERA margin versus New York compared to his overall ERA is among the best for all pitchers since 1916 (min. 2000 IP, incl. 200 IP against the Yankees), with many of those ahead of him on the list facing the Bombers in their down years instead of as a perennial contender.

Rk ▴ Player Split G ERA ERAtot Diff W L W-L% GS GF CG SHO SV IP IPtot
1 David Wells NYY 45 3.09 4.13 -1.04 19 11 .633 32 5 5 0 2 244.2 3439.0
2 Mike Caldwell NYY 30 3.05 3.81 -0.76 13 8 .619 28 1 11 5 1 215.1 2408.2
3 Denny Galehouse NYY 63 3.31 3.97 -0.66 20 18 .526 38 11 17 4 2 334.2 2004.0
4 Sam McDowell NYY 38 2.53 3.17 -0.64 17 11 .607 34 4 16 3 3 260.0 2492.1
5 Dean Chance NYY 41 2.34 2.92 -0.58 18 11 .621 32 5 12 6 2 250.1 2147.1
6 Hoyt Wilhelm NYY 75 1.98 2.52 -0.54 9 11 .450 13 42 6 3 17 209.1 2254.2
7 Luis Tiant NYY 53 2.84 3.30 -0.46 22 15 .595 44 8 20 7 3 341.2 3486.1
8 Dave Stieb NYY 34 3.00 3.44 -0.44 8 10 .444 29 2 9 3 0 222.0 2895.1
9 Vida Blue NYY 29 2.87 3.27 -0.40 16 9 .640 29 0 10 2 0 216.1 3343.1
10 Roy Halladay NYY 38 2.98 3.38 -0.40 18 7 .720 36 1 7 3 0 253.1 2749.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

That .720 winning percentage against the Yankees is 3rd best for pitchers with 15 decisions against New York, and tops for pitchers with 20 decisions.

Rk ▴ Player Split G W-L% W-L%tot W L ERA GS GF CG SHO SV IP IPtot
1 Kevin Brown NYY 16 .800 .594 12 3 2.50 16 0 4 1 0 115.0 3256.1
2 Teddy Higuera NYY 23 .765 .595 13 4 3.14 22 0 7 3 0 163.1 1380.0
3 Roy Halladay NYY 38 .720 .659 18 7 2.98 36 1 7 3 0 253.1 2749.1
4 Eddie Cicotte NYY 34 .714 .656 20 8 2.26 28 4 21 4 1 251.0 1408.0
5 Bill Lee NYY 38 .706 .569 12 5 3.86 21 10 9 2 2 191.0 1944.1
6 Todd Stottlemyre NYY 24 .706 .533 12 5 4.24 21 0 4 0 0 150.2 2191.2
7 Jon Lester NYY 26 .688 .641 11 5 3.96 26 0 1 1 0 154.2 1376.1
8 Frank Lary NYY 56 .683 .525 28 13 3.32 49 3 24 3 1 371.2 2162.1
9 Dave McNally NYY 51 .677 .607 21 10 3.48 48 1 14 6 0 310.2 2730.0
10 Firpo Marberry NYY 81 .676 .627 23 11 4.32 29 39 12 1 20 289.1 2065.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

So, what about the Hall of Fame? If you’re not convinced of Halladay’s bonafides, consider the pitchers below. They are the only pitchers with 200 wins and an ERA+ of 130 or better who are NOT already in the Hall.

Rk Player ERA+ W L W-L% From To Age G GS CG SHO IP ERA Tm
1 Pedro Martinez 154 219 100 .687 1992 2009 20-37 476 409 46 17 2827.1 2.93 LAD-MON-BOS-NYM-PHI
2 Roger Clemens 143 354 184 .658 1984 2007 21-44 709 707 118 46 4916.2 3.12 BOS-TOR-HOU-NYY
3 Randy Johnson 135 303 166 .646 1988 2009 24-45 618 603 100 37 4135.1 3.29 MON-TOT-SEA-NYY-ARI-SFG
4 Greg Maddux 132 355 227 .610 1986 2008 20-42 744 740 109 35 5008.1 3.16 CHC-ATL-TOT-SDP
5 Roy Halladay 131 203 105 .659 1998 2013 21-36 416 390 67 20 2749.1 3.38 TOR-PHI
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

I don’t think there’s much doubt that the other names on that list will and should be in the Hall very soon. Nor should there be any doubt about Halladay.

That relatively low win total still giving you doubts? There is certainly plenty of precedent for inducting pitchers with outstanding ERAs and more modest win totals. These are ALL the HOF pitchers with a 130 ERA+ (it’s really hard to maintain that good an ERA for a career).

Rk Player W ERA+ L W-L% From To Age G GS CG SHO GF SV IP ERA Tm
1 Cy Young 511 138 316 .618 1890 1911 23-44 906 815 749 76 84 17 7356.0 2.63 CLV-STL-BOS-CLE-TOT
2 Walter Johnson 417 147 279 .599 1907 1927 19-39 802 666 531 110 127 34 5914.1 2.17 WSH
3 Pete Alexander 373 136 208 .642 1911 1930 24-43 696 600 437 90 80 32 5190.0 2.56 PHI-CHC-TOT-STL
4 Christy Mathewson 373 135 188 .665 1900 1916 19-35 636 552 435 79 73 30 4788.2 2.13 NYG-TOT
5 Kid Nichols 361 140 208 .634 1890 1906 20-36 621 562 532 48 56 17 5067.1 2.96 BSN-STL-TOT-PHI
6 John Clarkson 328 133 178 .648 1882 1894 20-32 531 518 485 37 12 5 4536.1 2.81 WOR-CHC-BSN-TOT-CLV
7 Lefty Grove 300 148 141 .680 1925 1941 25-41 616 457 298 35 123 55 3940.2 3.06 PHA-BOS
8 Mordecai Brown 239 139 130 .648 1903 1916 26-39 481 332 271 55 138 49 3172.1 2.06 STL-CHC-CIN-TOT-CHI
9 Whitey Ford 236 133 106 .690 1950 1967 21-38 498 438 156 45 35 10 3170.1 2.75 NYY
10 Hal Newhouser 207 130 150 .580 1939 1955 18-34 488 374 212 33 79 26 2993.0 3.06 DET-CLE
11 Ed Walsh 195 145 126 .607 1904 1917 23-36 430 315 250 57 103 35 2964.1 1.82 CHW-BSN
12 Rube Waddell 193 135 143 .574 1897 1910 20-33 407 340 261 50 54 5 2961.1 2.16 LOU-PIT-TOT-PHA-SLB
13 Sandy Koufax 165 131 87 .655 1955 1966 19-30 397 314 137 40 44 9 2324.1 2.76 BRO-LAD
14 Addie Joss 160 142 97 .623 1902 1910 22-30 286 260 234 45 22 5 2327.0 1.89 CLE
15 Dizzy Dean 150 131 83 .644 1930 1947 20-37 317 230 154 26 76 30 1967.1 3.02 STL-CHC-SLB
16 Hoyt Wilhelm 143 147 122 .540 1952 1972 29-49 1070 52 20 5 651 227 2254.1 2.52 NYG-TOT-BAL-CHW-LAD
17 Bruce Sutter 68 136 71 .489 1976 1988 23-35 661 0 0 0 512 300 1042.0 2.83 CHC-STL-ATL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2013.

Thanks for the memories, Roy. We’ll see you in Cooperstown!

25 thoughts on “The Doctor is out – Roy Halladay calls it a career

  1. 1
    MikeD says:

    Easy HOFer in my book. I admit I lean toward players with strong peaks and who were clearly regarded as either the best or damn near. Those are the players who belong in the Hall much more so than the good to very good who stick around a long time and compile numbers.

    Many times the discussion of who is a HOFer will lead to their counting stats. Yet counting stats are generally the result of long careers, but in many cases the player is not elected because he hit certain targets: 500 HRs (in the old days), 3,000 hits, etc. Those numbers were the byproduct of greatness. If Mantle retired in 1961 after a decade (11 years) of play would he have made the HOF? Yup. He had 374 HRs. Yet we’ll hear he had to be elected because he hit over 500 HRs, and then other players who hit 500 HRs are considered likely inductees.

    Halladay is certainly not the Mantle of pitchers, but he was excellent and while his injuries kept his career counting stats down, he was great and had the peak to be a HOFer.

  2. 2
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Mariano Rivera taught him that Yankee-Killer Cutter.
    _______

    Clawing at 650:

    .649 Tim Hudson
    .641 CC Sabathia

  3. 3
    Darien says:

    I remember when Doc threw that no-no in the 2010 playoffs, and I was listening to a different game that same night, and the announcers said that would “cement” his Hall of Fame bid. My response was “if Roy Halladay isn’t a clear Hall-of-Famer, what’s the Hall of Fame for again?”

    • 5
      birtelcom says:

      There have been 1,408 post-season starts by NL pitchers. What are the odds that the two highest Game Scores among those 1,408 starts would occur on consecutive days? Halladay’s no-hitter on October 6, 2010 had a 94 Game Score to set the post-season record by an NL pitcher (a record previously held jointly by Bob Gibson and Josh Beckett). Doc held the record for about 24 hours — on October 7 Tim Lincecum notched a two-hit, one-walk, 14-K game for a 1-0, complete game victory and a 96 Game Score.

      • 7
        RJ says:

        And both performances were by pitchers making their postseason debut.

      • 10
        Doug says:

        That reminds me of game 4 of this year’s ALDS.

        John remarked that Andy Dirks had scored twice for the Tigers without an AB, a post-season first for a substitute. Two hours later, Xander Boegarts did the same for Boston against the Rays.

    • 25
      Michael Sullivan says:

      If Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina aren’t hall of famers, what’s the hall of fame for? Their sabermetric resume is *much* better than Halladay’s, and Schilling has some of the accolades and fame to go with it. Yet neither one is in yet, and their bids don’t look certain.

      I think Halladay is in a better spot because he was clearly the best in the league for a couple years, while Schilling and Mussina were always second or third fiddle to one of the four obvious inner-circle guys.

      But the hall voters seem to just hate pitchers these days.

  4. 4
    no statistician but says:

    Not to turn the discussion from Halladay, who deserves the attention, but the name Firpo Marberry shows up on a couple of your breakouts, and I wonder how much that name means to many of the younger HHS contributors. In case it doesn’t ring a bell, as Bob Rush didn’t for someone a day or two ago, Firpo Marberry was the first pitcher to be used deliberately in the role of late reliever. In 1925, for the AL champ Senators, he relieved exclusively, appearing in 55 games with 93.1 innings pitched and 15 saves, the last figure matching his save total from the previous year’s WS champion team. In 1926, he had an astounding 22 saves (and 9 relief wins), setting a record that stood for many years. He was also a pretty good starter when given that assignment. In 1930 he started 26 games. finished 19-12, and was second in the AL in ERA and ERA+ to a guy named Grove. He also managed to relieve 23 times, and led the league with 11 saves. This was for a team with a 71-81 record.

    He actually was called Fred. Couldn’t win either way when it came to names.

    • 9
      Doug says:

      I noticed that Marberry was a swingman based on those lists. Thanks for providing the “color”.

      Marberry’s 1925 season was the 5th major-league season of at least 60 IP and no starts, all since 1921. All were similar IP but Marberry had the most appearances and GF.

      Rk Player Year GS GF IP Age Tm SV
      1 Slim Sallee 1921 0 19 96.1 36 NYG 2
      2 Lou North 1921 0 26 86.1 30 STL 7
      3 Claude Jonnard 1922 0 19 96.0 24 NYG 5
      4 Allen Russell 1924 0 18 82.1 30 WSH 8
      5 Firpo Marberry 1925 0 39 93.1 26 WSH 15
      Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
      Generated 12/11/2013.

       
      Marberry had 47 games finished in 1926, a record that would stand for 11 years until Clint Brown finished 48 in 1937. Brown was the first pitcher to specialize exclusively as a reliever. From 1937 to the end of his career (1942), Brown appeared in 207 games, all in relief, finishing 182 (88%).

      Marberry and Dizzy Dean are the only live ball pitchers with a season of 10+ CG and 10+ saves.

      • 18
        Dr. Doom says:

        In terms of how they were used throughout their careers, North and Jonnard probably actually hold claim to being the first pitchers used primarily in relief. Mar Berry was definitely used that way often, but he started an awful lot of games later in his career to be considered a pure reliever. Sallee was used as a “pure” reliever in the aforementioned year; but it was his last in the majors, so it seems more like a way to squeeze some usefulness out of an arm already gone than an innovative bullpen strategy – not that those HAVE to be mutually exclusive. Russell’s usage suggests a prototypical swing man. Interesting list, Doug. Thanks for giving me a rabbit hole down which to fall!

      • 21
        no statistician but says:

        I think it’s clear that North and Jonnard weren’t used in late relief in a critical way. St Louis’s record in the games North appeared was 12-27. The WS champ Giants’ record in the games Jonnard appeared was 16-29. Marberry did some mop-up work too, but the Senators were 22-14 in his relief appearances in 1924, and 29-26 in 1925. In 1926 the team went 34-25 when he relieved, with 9 wins and 22 saves. He had 3 wins as a starter, and the team won 81 games. It would surely be a long time before another relief pitcher rang up wins and saves in 42% of his teams wins. As more of a starter, though, Marberry, with 30 wins and saves in 1930, comes in again with 42% of the Senators’ 71 wins.

        It’s hard to get around the suspicion that Marberry’s career was greater than the sum of its parts.

    • 22
      Richard Chester says:

      Marberry’s real name was Fred. He attained his nickname Firpo due to a facial resemblance to Argentine boxer Luis Firpo who once knocked Jack Dempsey out of the ring but still lost the fight. Boxer Firpo’s nickname was “The Wild Bull of the Pampas”.

  5. 6
    birtelcom says:

    Most b-ref WAR by a player born in Colorado:
    1. Roy Halladay 64.6
    2. Goose Gossage 42.0
    3. John Stearns 19.5
    4. Chase Headley 17.7 (and counting)
    5. Dave LaRoche 15.3
    6. Johnny Frederick 15.2

  6. 8
    birtelcom says:

    The Blue Jays took Halladay with the 17th overall pick in the 1995 draft (the other most successful pick in the first round in 1995 was the Rockies’ selection of Todd Helton, who also recently retired). The second-most career WAR by a 17th overall selection has been by Cole Hamels (the 17th selection in 2002), Doc’s staff-mate the last few years. Halladay and Hamels both have career ERAs of 3.38.

  7. 11
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    While I too agree that Halladay is a deserving HOFer, I don’t think he’ll go in right away; he’ll have to wait at least 3/4/5 ballots. Also, the ballot will probably still be badly clogged up, with a number of deserving holdovers who should’ve been already elected – though this may be sorted out somewhat by the time he hits the ballot in 2018(?).

  8. 12
    Artie Z. says:

    On one of those charts, the 200 wins and 130 ERA+ who are NOT in the HOF I was a little bit skeptical because Halladay is right near the border (203 wins, 131 ERA+). I thought “maybe there are other guys on the other side of the cutoff,” because when I look at the list Halladay is much more comparable to Pedro because his innings are much lower than Clemens, Johnson, and Maddux.

    Adjusting the wins “lens” first, we have to drop the threshold to 130 wins to even add anyone else to the list, and then we pick up Johan Santana, Noodles Hahn, and Harry Brecheen. Basically, really good, perhaps great, pitchers who just didn’t pitch much more than 2000 innings. I think the moral of that story is: If a pitcher has an ERA+ of 130 teams are going to use him until his ERA+ is not 130 or he simply can’t physically pitch any more.

    Adjusting the ERA+ “lens” brings in more “Halladay-like” pitchers. Pitchers with 200+ wins and a 122+ ERA+ include:

    Schilling and Kevin Brown (127)
    Smoltz (125)
    Hudson (124)
    Mussina and Cicotte (123)
    Caruthers (122)

    So there are guys who are hitting the ballot soon or on the ballot (Schilling, Smoltz, Mussina), one guy who’s already done (Brown), one guy who’s still pitching (Hudson), Bob Caruthers, and a guy who certainly won’t be joining the HOF any time soon unless Rose and Joe Jackson get in (Cicotte).

    What do we get if we combine the 130+ wins and 122+ ERA+? Well, there are only 27 pitchers who are NOT HOFers in that group. 8 of those pitchers began their careers prior to 1906, 4 (Shocker, Bridges, Trout, and Brecheen) between 1915-1940, and the rest are all pitchers from the 1980s and later (with Stieb and Saberhagen joining Kevin Brown as no longer on the ballot).

    Well, 130 wins ain’t really near 200, so if we change that to 180 wins and 122 ERA+ then there are only 16 pitchers who are not in the HOF, which basically boils down to the recent guys (Clemens and later) and the guys from a century ago (Shocker and before). And Tommy Bridges. And if ERA+ is bumped up to 125 then all the old guys fall off the list – except Bridges.

    My goal really isn’t to bring Halladay down (I think he should be in the HOF), but to try to build an argument to bring him down so that I can easily dismiss that particular argument. And those 200 wins and 130 ERA+ and not a HOFer standards don’t appear to be too restrictive, though Halladay seems more like Schilling, Brown, Tim Hudson, and (to a lesser degree because of his years as a closer) Smoltz. And while those guys may or may not be elected to the HOF, there are certainly cases that can be made for them, which bodes well for Halladay, because his case seems to be about as strong as any of their cases.

    • 15
      Doug says:

      Good thoughts, Artie.

      To me, Halladay seems very similar to Tim Hudson. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t seem to have seen much chatter about Hudson’s HOF chances. To me that’s more a case of under-valuing Hudson than over-valuing Halladay.

      Here are their career lines (Hudson, first).

      Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
      15 Yrs 205 111 .649 3.44 427 426 25 13 2813.2 124 1.233 8.4 0.7 2.7 6.1 2.24
      16 Yrs 203 105 .659 3.38 416 390 67 20 2749.1 131 1.178 8.7 0.8 1.9 6.9 3.58
      Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
      Generated 12/11/2013.

       
      Maybe Doc is just a bit better on the SO/BB front. But, those stats are about as close as you’re going to get for two contemporaries. Doc scores bonus points for the CGs, but Hudson has about a season’s worth more starts to compensate.

      • 16
        Andrew says:

        This is my problem with using total careers to say two guys were super close in value, though. You take the first 12 years of Hudson’s career, 1999-2010, and you get a great pitcher:

        2288.1 IP, 127 ERA+, 1.247 WHIP, 2.18 K/BB

        But that doesn’t even COMPARE to Halladay’s 2002-2011 peak:

        2194.2 IP, 148 ERA+, 1.111 WHIP, 4.57 K/BB

        Yes, Hudson’s career numbers are about the same, but they were miles apart as players. And FWIW, I’m a Braves fan and love Huddy, but they’re about as close together as Koufax and Roy Oswalt.

        • 17
          Doug says:

          You could extend Hudson’s peak years all the way to 2012 and hardly change the totals you mentioned (which is pretty impressive all by itself).

          But, your basic point is well taken that Doc lost a lot on his career line in his “book-end” years. More than I had realized, so thanks for pointing that out.

          I don’t see a lot of NL games so haven’t seen much of Hudson recently. But, whenever I’ve seen him, he’s looked great – gets the ball and goes about his business, giving you a very tidy and efficient 7 innings or so.

          BTW, Hudson and Mark Mulder, in back-to-back seasons for the As in 2000-01, are the last pitchers to win 20 in a debut or 2nd season.

          • 19
            Artie Z. says:

            Halladay’s 2000 season is just about the worst 67.2 innings anyone has ever been allowed to pitch. I was looking at that earlier and he is certainly the only pitcher to put up -2.5 WAR or worse in 75 IP or less in a season and be in a HOF discussion.

            The most amazing pitcher on the list is Dave Tomlin, who went 9-1 with -3.1 WAR for the 1978 Reds (5.78 ERA, 1.893 WHIP).

            Steve Blass’ meltdown season (1973) doesn’t make that list because he pitched 88.1 innings, but he had -4.0 WAR. Halladay’s season wasn’t quite that bad, but it’s in that league of “bad season”. And then he came back and did what he did after it.

    • 20
      Hartvig says:

      “I was a little bit skeptical because Halladay is right near the border ”

      I felt much the same way. You’ve done a good job of broadening the perspective and presenting the case.

      I’ve said repeatedly that I feel that any player who is every bit as good as or better than your AVERAGE Hall of Famer at their position belongs in the HOF.

      The Hall of Fame website says there are 72 pitchers that are members of the HOF. B-R.com lists 69 but they don’t include players who only played in the Negro Leagues plus they do include guys like Babe Ruth, Hank O’Day and Monte Ward who were “pitchers and…” so in reality we have 63 pitchers who’s career records we can compare to Halladay’s.

      I thought maybe using B-R.com JAWS or Adam Darowski’s Hall of Stats to see how WAR views him.

      The Hall of Stats does make an adjustment for pre-1893 pitchers which is necessary because if you don’t you end up with over a third of the top 45 or so pitchers in history pitching prior to 1900. In the Hall of Stats ranking Doc is #26 which is impressive enough on its own but 7 of the guys ahead of him are either new to the HOF ballot (Clemens & Schilling) or not yet eligible. The effectively means that of current Hall of Fame pitchers the HOS would rank Halladay in the top 20. I think that easily clears the “average Hall of Fame pitcher” level.

      JAWS ranks Halladay much lower at #42 but 1) 11 of those pitchers pitched entirely before 1893 plus 2) you have the same 7 new or not yet eligible guys as with the HOS to account for. Even if you don’t adjust for the 7 new guys that still puts Doc at around #32 which with 63 guys to compare to means he should be pretty close to the middle.

      If I were voting he would get mine.

  9. 13
    TheGoof says:

    I remember watching Halladay pitch for Syracuse in 1997 and 1998. We knew he would become a star. He teamed with Dave Stieb for a while, and it was as if the torch was passed. I find it hard to really rank him and to fathom how he falls on the Hall of Fame spectrum, but I would certainly celebrate his election.

    One catch with the lists above: If a pitcher’s teams were normally around .500 for much of his career, I don’t think the Sept/Oct breakout really indicates big-game performance. That makes more sense for a Whitey Ford, Don Drysdale or Pedro than a Halladay, Ryan or Niekro. Of course, that will change as more “meaningful” late season games are between iffy teams battling for wild cards. Thanks, Bud Selig, for ruining September.

    • 14
      Doug says:

      While the Sep/Oct games weren’t meaningful for Toronto, that usually wasn’t the case for their opponents as the Yankees or Red Sox (or both) were in the hunt every year (as were the Rays at the end of Halladay’s Toronto days).

      So, Doc at least did his best to play spoiler.

  10. 23
    mosc says:

    Halladay’s close for me. There’s guys like Smoltz, Martinez, Schilling, and Glavine I’d rather have in. There’s not much space there between Doc and Pettitte, Mussina, Brown, etc. Halladay’s contemporaries haven’t retired yet. He’s going to have to compete with Sabathia, Hudson, and Lee (who I can see pitching well into his 40s). I guess I see him as a slightly better Stieb or Saberhagen, neither of which got much hall love. Saberhagen even had a ring and a great WS pitching performance

    Then again, he did pitch a playoff no hitter, show his stuff regularly against the yankees, and have a great nickname. Those things matter more than his strikeout total to voters.

    • 24
      Michael Sullivan says:

      Both Stieb and Saberhagen are in the Hall of Stats and probably should have gotten more love than they did. They are super-clear selections like some others, but they deserved serious consideration.

      Pitchers working during the 80s and 90s really got screwed by non-saber minded voters because run totals were so much higher than voters were used to seeing from 60s and 70s candidates. Then you had the crop of all time greats (Martinez, Clemens, Maddux, Johnson) show up after, and pitchers whose careers centered on the 80s were getting compared to similar pitchers with much lower raw ERAs on the one side, and then these 4 inner-circle greats who were so ridiculous that they matched some of those late 60s ERA numbers even during some of the highest offense seasons in history.

      To your typical BBWWAA voter, unaware of how to adjust for context, it looked like there was a drought of HOF caliber pitchers, and then finally we had these 4 guys who were as good as the best of the 60s and 70s. When in fact, there was only one pitcher from the 60s and 70s in the same class as those guys: Seaver.

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