PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Roy Halladay called it quits.
Halladay announce his retirement at a press conference today, as he signed a one day contract with Toronto to retire a member of the Blue Jays.
“We spent a lot of time talking, as a family. For me, there was a lot of things that came into play,” Halladay said. “One, baseball, there’s a lot of traveling, there’s a lot of time away from family, loved ones. I felt like this was a great time for me to get back involved. One of the major factors, there’s been stuff written about shoulders, I’ve been throwing to my boys, my shoulder feels as good as it ever has. Unfortunately, I can’t get them out,” Halladay joked.
“My back really became an issue for me. I have two pars fractures, an eroded disc between the L4, L5, there’s a significant step back there where the nerves are being pinched. It’s made it hard to pitch with the mechanics I’ve pitched with.”
Halladay saw his production decline while injuries mounted over the last two seasons, a stark difference between the seemingly indestructible machine of a pitcher that won Cy Young awards in both the American and National leagues.
Halladay joked that he’s looking to join a 35 and older basketball league, and said he’s looking to avoid having back surgery.
“It’s an exciting day for us. There’s a lot to look forward to. Baseball has been very good to me. My goal was to leave baseball better than I found it,” Halladay said.
Halladay was traded to the Phillies in a blockbuster deal prior to the 2010 season. He promptly won 21 games, the Cy Young award, threw a perfect game in May 2010 against the Marlins, and a no-hitter in the first round of the playoffs against the Reds. The Phillies would go on to lose in the 2010 National League Championship series, and the 2011 National League Division series when Halladay lost a 1-0 deciding game to the the Cardinals.
“Philadelphia was icing on the cake,” Halladay said.
Halladay won 40 games and lost only 16 in his first two years as a Phillies pitcher, had an ERA of 2.40, struck out 439 batters and walked only 65. His second two seasons were a challenge, going 15-13 with an ERA over 5. Halladay missed a large chunk of the 2013 season after having shoulder surgery.
“He was one of the best competitors who ever played this game and taught everyone around him to prepare the right way in order to be the best. For me, personally, he helped me understand the game more and gave me insight on how to become a top of the line starting pitcher,” Phillies teammate Cole Hamels said.
“Roy was probably the best influence in my career,” Kyle Kendrick said. “Being able to spend the last four years with him taught me what work ethic and commitment are all about. In my eyes, the game just lost the best pitcher of the last 10 years.”
“Roy Halladay is the ultimate competitor,” Chase Utley said. “He is by far the hardest worker that I’ve ever seen and treated every game as if it were his last. It was no coincidence why he was the best pitcher of his era. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to watch him pitch for four years. I’ll miss his presence and passion but, most of all, I will miss his intensity.”
Philadelphia is where Halladay finished his career, but Toronto is where it started, and where the legend began. He went 148-76 in 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, winning the Cy Young award once, and finishing top five in Cy Young voting four other times.
Overall, Halladay finishes with a record of 203-105, with a 3.38 ERA, 20 shutouts, and was an All-Star seven times.
“I’d love to retire with two teams, but I don’t think that’s possible,” Halladay said. “I want the [Phillies] organization, I want the fans to know how much I enjoyed my time there. But to me, the biggest thing was, if I wasn’t fortunate enough to get that opportunity with the Blue Jays… I wouldn’t have never pitched for the Phillies.”
“Roy was one of the best pitchers and students of the game I’ve ever had the honor of playing with. Hands down, he was the best pitcher of this era and a first ballot Hall of Famer,” former teammate Roy Oswalt said.