The Late Roy Halladay's Journey From Arvada to Baseball Hall of Fame

Roy Halladay during his Arvada West days, as seen in a video shown at his 2015 induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Roy Halladay during his Arvada West days, as seen in a video shown at his 2015 induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. YouTube
In November 2017, when we memorialized two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Roy Halladay after his death in a Gulf of Mexico plane crash, we predicted that the Denver native would be a first-ballot electee at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

"Such an enshrinement can't happen until 2019," we added, "but when the big day comes, it will be decidedly bittersweet, since Halladay won't be able to accept it in person. But the accomplishment will further burnish a legend that won't be dimmed by his exceedingly premature passing."

His election played out just as anticipated yesterday, January 23. Halladay earned 85.4 percent of the Hall of Fame vote — well over the 75 percent required — in his initial year of eligibility. The induction is set to take place on July 21.

Halladay's passing particularly impacted the Denver area, where he was born forty years earlier. He subsequently attended Arvada West High School, which paid tribute to him on its Facebook and Twitter accounts after news of his death broke. Here's one example:

While Halladay was a big deal across the league thanks to his sixteen years of sparkling play for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies, he never forgot his home town.

When the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame named him for induction in 2015, he happily returned to accept the accolade. The clip capturing that moment boasts footage from throughout his career and an acceptance speech marked by grace and humility.

Unsurprisingly, we included Halladay on our 2013 list of the ten best athletes to be born in Colorado.

The Halladay item in the post reads: "Halladay's from Denver, and his hometown Colorado Rockies sure as hell could use him — not that the legendarily cheap outfit would ever pay his freight. He is quite simply one of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball, although it took a while for some folks to realize it, since he spent the first chunk of his career hurling for the Toronto Blue Jays. Now he's part of the Philadelphia Phillies, a perennial contender. His personal record book includes eight All-Star Game appearances, two Cy Young awards (given to the best pitcher in his league) and, in 2010, both a perfect game and a no-hitter in the playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds. When he retires, we expect he'll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

While Halladay isn't around to celebrate this honor, his son Braden is. Here's his tweet marking the occasion:

Braden is following his father's path. In December 2017, he announced that he'd committed to attend Penn State University after his graduation from high school.

Yes, he's a pitcher — and this past May, at age seventeen, he lined up against his dad's old team, the Blue Jays, in an exhibition. The first batter he faced, McGregory Contreras, flew out to left.

Roy would have been proud — just as Denver is proud of Roy.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts