It’s been seven seasons since right-hander Roy Halladay last toed the rubber for the Blue Jays, dominating opponents for more than a decade.
And on Thursday, the Jays’ 2003 Cy Young Award winner, a man known for steely-eyed efficiency on the field and charitable work with children off of it, leads a group of five 2017 inductees into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame at St. Marys, Ont.
The ace starter, nicknamed Doc early in his career by Hall of Fame broadcaster Tom Cheek, will be joined in Hall of Fame ceremonies on June 24 by former Expos outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, former Baseball Canada president Ray Carter, legendary west coast amateur umpire, the late Doug Hudlin, and the 2015 Pan-Am Games gold-medal winning Team Canada, managed by Ernie Whitt.
Halladay, 39, spent 12 seasons with the Jays, posting a record of 148-76, with a 3.43 ERA in 313 games. The lanky Denver native was the Jays’ first-round draft pick in 1995, making his major-league debut in September 1998, tossing a one-hitter against the Tigers in his first Toronto appearance. He established himself as the ace of the Jays’ rotation in 2002, making six all-star appearances and winning the 2003 Cy Young with a record of 22-7, 3.25 ERA. He finished his career with the Phillies, winning a second Cy Young Award in 2010, adding a playoff no-hitter vs. the Reds.
Guerrero, 42, was signed as an amateur free agent by the Montreal Expos from a tryout camp in the Dominican Republic in 1993. He spent eight years in Montreal, establishing himself as one of the most exciting hitters in MLB, with an electric throwing arm, earning four all-star game nods. In Montreal, Vlad batted .323, with 234 homers, 702 RBIs, 123 stolen bases and a .978 OPS. Despite a reputation for swinging at any pitch he could reach, he never struck out 100 times in any of 16 years in the majors, with the Expos, Angels, Rangers and O’s.
Carter, 74, a native of Nanaimo, B.C., was president of Baseball Canada from 2000-16, presiding over the country’s emergence as an established baseball presence on the world stage. His is the longest tenure of any Baseball Canada president, on record.
Hudlin, a west coast legend who passed away in 2014 at age 91, was a shining example of grassroots baseball in Canada, umpiring on Vancouver Island for more than 40 years, beginning in 1954. He became the first non-American to umpire at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., earning the honour in 1967 and again in 1974. He founded the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association.
In 2015, at the Pan-Am Games in Ajax, no one that was in attendance will ever forget the dramatic gold-medal game against Team USA, as infielder Pete Orr dashed around the bases for a 7-6 win in 10 innings. It was Team Canada’s first win on home soil and marked the country’s second straight Pan-Am Games gold.