Dan's Dugout: A Teary Tale of Two Pitchers • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: A Teary Tale of Two Pitchers

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This is a tale of two pitchers.

One of them, Roy Halladay, took a giant step toward the Baseball Hall of Fame when his life ended at age 40 in the crash of his private plane – the same disaster that once claimed Yankee captain Thurman Munson.

The other, Bartolo Colon, is still kicking despite the fact that his career is on life-support.

Roy Halladay celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz after no-hitting the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 NLDS opener Credit: Ron Cortes, Philadelphia Daily News

Roy Halladay celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz after no-hitting the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 NLDS opener
Credit: Ron Cortes, Philadelphia Daily News

Halladay, one of six pitchers to win Cy Youngs in both leagues, went 203-105 while dividing his career between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. He also joined Don Larsen as the only pitchers to throw no-hitters in postseason play.

The father of three had his pilot’s license for less than a month but, according to his wife Brandy, shouldn’t have pursued that hobby. She was adamant in her opposition, which apparently was well-founded.

Halladay would have become eligible for Cooperstown in 2019. There’s already a groundswell of support to put him in now – as the Baseball Writers Association of America did after the death of Roberto Clemente, also in a plane crash.

The pitcher had both the stats and the character. He won Cy Young Awards with the Blue Jays in 2003 and the Phillies in 2010, the year he pitched no-hitters in both the regular season (May 29 at Miami and October 6 in the Division Series opener against Cincinnati in Philadelphia). Halladay had a career earned run average of 3.38, made the All-Star team eight times, and reached postseason play five times, all with the Phils, while posting three October victories.

His character couldn’t be questioned either. During his tenure in Toronto, he bought a luxury box from the Blue Jays that allowed hospitalized kids to attend games at his expense. With the Phillies, he followed his perfect game in Florida by ordering 60 personalized watches for teammates, coaches and clubhouse staff. Halladay even rescued a boater from a snake attack.

Roy Halladay's timetable for Cooperstown could be advanced by his untimely death

Roy Halladay’s timetable for Cooperstown could be advanced by his untimely death

While 203 wins may not seem like enough for to merit a Cooperstown plaque, there are incumbent pitchers who had less (Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax, among others). But the body of work should be enough for Halladay, who might not have been a first-ballot choice in 2019, when Mariano Rivera heads the list of newly-eligibles, but probably would have made it shortly thereafter.

Colon, on the other hand, is his own worst enemy.

His body of work was betrayed by his ballooning body last summer, when he went 2-8 with a bloated 8.14 ERA for the Braves and 5-6 with a 5.18 earned run mark in Minnesota.

Although he’ll turn 45 on May 24, the rotund righthander is just three wins from Juan Marichal’s mark for most wins by a Dominican pitcher. He needs five more to match the mark of Dennis Martinez for victories by any Latino.

There’s no way, however, that any team will come close to giving Colon even half of the $12.5 million Atlanta wasted on the paunchy pitcher last winter.

In fact, Colon should probably be paying any team willing to take him.

His resume features four All-Star selections, two 20-win seasons, and a Cy Young Award. But those days have long been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Bartolo Colon needs six wins for a new Latino mark

Bartolo Colon needs six wins for a new Latino mark

Sure, Colon went 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA for the 2016 Mets team that made it to the postseason. But he’s had too many banana splits since. Waaaay too many.

Once considered an innings-eater, now he’s just an eater – so close to his goals but also so far away.

Baseball history is filled with profiles of pitchers who didn’t know when to hang ‘em up.

Sorry, Bartolo, but your time is up.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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