“Doc” is officially No. 32 forever in Toronto.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced Monday they will retire Roy Halladay’s No. 32 before their Opening Day contest March 29 at Rogers Centre.
They will also wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys all season to honor the beloved pitcher, who died in a single-plane accident on Nov. 7, 2017 at age 40.
Halladay will become only the second Blue Jay to have his number retired, joining Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar’s No. 12.
"Through Roy's values, pride, work ethic, and perseverance, he epitomized what it means to be a Blue Jay," president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement. "And while his legacy is clear, it goes far beyond the number on his back or his on-field accomplishments, serving as a shining example of how to live a meaningful life and positively impact others."
The Blue Jays’ first-round pick (17th overall) in 1995, Halladay quickly rose through their system and made an immediate impact in the big leagues. In only his second career start on the final day of the 1998 season, he came one out away from no-hitting the Detroit Tigers, spoiled only by Bobby Higginson’s pinch-hit homer.
Though struggles arrived in the ensuing years – Halladay posted a 10.64 ERA in 2000 and was sent back to Single-A – he quickly rebounded to become one of the game’s most dominant pitchers, winning his first Cy Young Award in 2003.
By the time he left the Blue Jays in 2009, Halladay’s name was dotted throughout the franchise record books, second only to Dave Stieb in most categories. His 22 wins in 2003 remains the Jays’ single-season record.
Halladay‘s place among Blue Jays’ all-time records
He became a fan favorite in Toronto and across Canada through his excellent pitching and off-field charity work, including the “Doc’s Box” suite that hosted patients from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
Though he finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Halladay – who was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in June – signed a one-day contract to retire as a Blue Jay in 2013, and expressed a preference to enter Cooperstown representing them. He becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame next year.
“I’d go (into the Hall) as a Blue Jay,” he said in 2016. “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”
The Phillies are also honoring Halladay by retiring the No. 34 he wore during his four years there, for the 2018 season.
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