It's a few months early for a Hall of Fame discussion and years too early for one about Roy Halladay, but nevertheless Doc's no-hitter in game one of the National League Division Series got me thinking about this. And was reminded about it again reading Richard Griffin's Mail Bag this week in the Toronto Star:
Thanks for the columns. Roy Halladay's no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS was brilliant. Given what he's accomplished (and may still accomplish) compared to current generation pitchers, what do you think of his chances of getting into The Hall? And if he does, do you think he'll be wearing a Jays cap?
Dave O'Grady, Waterloo
A-Halladay is 33-years-old. If he averages 20-plus games won for the next six years until the age of 39, he will have 289 wins. At that point, and, actually, even a year before that, he would have what it takes to be a Hall-of-Famer. Take into account his complete games compared to his peers, his win-percentage (.633) compared to history, his 200-plus strikeouts per season for a guy that preaches pitching to contact and add to that the fact that for the last four years he has been high in the mix of any argument regarding the game's best pitcher and for me those are Hall-of-Fame credentials. A World Series win would be the capper. However, if he does attain those numbers of wins in the upcoming seasons, he would likely go in wearing a Phillies' hat but with hundreds of admiring Jays fans driving down from Toronto for the induction in any case.
At 33 years old with a 169-86 record (.663 winning percentage) and still in the prime of his career, don't think there's much doubt that Halladay has the potential to continue long enough to put up Hall of Fame numbers. Only time will tell. But assuming he does, the question of what cap he'd have on his plaque is an interesting one.
With parts of 12 seasons under his belt with the Toronto Blue Jays, it would seem that on years alone a Jays logo would have the inside track. Also while he may not have got the full attention he deserved in the US media while playing here, Toronto is where Halladay established his dominance and first became a star player.
But while he built up a great base of numbers as a Jay, it is in these prime years to come that Halladay will (or won't) establish his Hall of Fame credentials. And this period of his career is also coinciding with his entry into the full glare of the baseball spotlight and his first postseason play where careers get immortalized.
As such, if Halladay were to play long and well enough to build up Hall of Fame numbers, and if he spends the rest of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies as Richard Griffin's answer above assumes, then I think it's right to expect that the logo on his cap would have a big "P" on it, rather than our beloved blue jay.
I doubt Doc will retire playing anywhere longer than his 12 seasons in Toronto, but if he stays put he could end up with seven, eight, nine years in Philadelphia - enough time-wise for establishing him as being as synonymously a Phillie as a Blue Jay. Add great success to the mix there, and years in service become less important.
Where this question would become more interesting is if Halladay bounces around a bit. Knowing how much he values stability (and a spring training site close to his Florida home) and in turn his value right now to the Phillies and their strong position, I wouldn't be surprised if he spends a good five years with Philadelphia.
But as time goes on, they could part ways. The Phillies' fortunes could change prompting them to want to trade Halladay or for him to seek greener pastures. Also as Doc's career slows down, depending how long he wants to play, he might end up bouncing to a third or fourth team as players often do in their final years.
There's every reason to believe that Doc is likely to have some of his best years in Philadelphia personally and with the team being solid also his best shot at postseason glory. Nevertheless, if he only ends up staying say something like five years, then I'd wonder if that would be enough to overshadow his long tenure with the Jays.
And who knows. Maybe if/when the Jays get good, there's even a chance that Halladay could return as a hired gun or midseason trade one day to bolster a playoff run. Or maybe he just comes back for a career swan song like Pat Hentgen. Might be wishful thinking, but maybe there will be a second act for him in Toronto one day too.
In the end, this Hall of Fame plaque cap logo thing is fun to debate, but it also seems silly. In the modern era, players' careers are often synonymous with not one, but two or even three teams. And as such, it seems unfair to priviledge one team's cap over the others. The plaques themselves give full billing to all the teams played.
Personally I wouldn't be surprised if one of these years the Hall of Fame puts a stop to the cap logo issue by having future inductees' plaques feature a blank cap. And I'd support that. However, it would be nice to have at least one Jays logo on a plaque, but hopefully that should be taken care of next year with Roberto Alomar.