Roy Halladay, Vladimir Guerrero Highlight Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Next stop: Cooperstown.
Photo by Reuters
It isn't quite Cooperstown, but two of the best baseball players to ever grace Canadian soil are headed to the Hall of Fame.
Former Montreal Expos slugger Vladimir Guerrero and all-time great Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay are among those who will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Guerrero and Halladay highlight the 2017 class that was announced Thursday, and will join Ray Carter, Doug Hudlin and the 2015 men's Pan Am championship-winning team for the induction ceremony June 24 in St. Marys, Ontario.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is likely the first pit stop before Cooperstown for both Guerrero and Halladay. Guerrero barely missed election this year—receiving 71.7 percent support of the required 75—but is highly likely to get in over the next couple years. Halladay, meanwhile, will be on the ballot for the first time in 2019, and it shouldn't take him very long to be enshrined, either.
Though both were born outside of Canada—Halladay in Denver, Colorado, and Guerrero from the Dominican Republic— the two stars made massive impacts and created cult-like followings among Canadian baseball fans in the country's two biggest markets of Toronto and Montreal. Halladay, specifically, has never been shy to show his love for the city where he spent the first 12 years of his career. In 2013, Halladay re-signed with Toronto as a free agent so he could retire as a Blue Jay and made it clear last summer he wants to don a Blue Jays cap when he eventually finds his place in Cooperstown.
"Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day," Halladay said of his induction to the CBHOF.
Doc's love for the city of Toronto comes as no surprise as he's arguably the best hurler in franchise history and became a legend over his long tenure with the Blue Jays, despite never reaching the postseason. The eight-time All-Star posted a 148-76 record between 1998 and 2009 while amassing nearly 1,500 strikeouts with a 3.43 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 2046 career innings with the club. He won his first of two Cy Young awards in 2003 after posting a 3.25 ERA, a career-high 22 wins while throwing an astounding 266 innings. Halladay is the all-time club leader among pitchers in WAR, per FanGraphs, and ranks near the top in nearly every significant pitching category. He went on to capture his second Cy Young in 2009 with the Phillies, where he spent the last four years of his illustrious career before retiring a Blue Jay.
Guerrero, meanwhile, was one of the best to ever wear an Expos uniform, and almost surely the most exciting. With a big bat and cannon of an arm, Guerrero was a walking highlight-reel machine.
Vladdy hit .323/.390/.588 with 234 homers—including back-to-back years of 40-plus— over his eight-year run with the Expos. He made four All-Star teams and captured three Silver Sluggers, while compiling a league-high 364 total bases in 2002 when he came fourth in NL MVP voting.
Guerrero would later earn his first and only MVP in 2003 with the Angels, his first year after leaving Montreal. He finished his career a nine-time All-Star and a beloved star on both sides of the border.
Joining Guerrero and Halladay in the 2017 CBHOF class is the 2015 men's Pan Am championship team, which captured gold on home soil in a thrilling extra-inning game against the United States that ended in dramatic fashion. It was the men's team's second consecutive Pan Am baseball gold.
Carter was the former president of Baseball Canada, while Hudlin was a long-time umpire.
The 2016 class was highlighted by former big-league pitchers Pat Hentgen and Dennis Martinez.