Roy Halladay is heading to Cooperstown.
The eight-time MLB All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner was recently voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In November 2017, Halladay tragically passed away at the age of 40. As the remembrances of Halladay poured in from those who knew him best, two things were clear. One, he was an amazing person. Two, he worked harder than anyone else.
Halladay was famous for waking up at the crack of dawn to perform his grueling workouts day after day, year after year. He would always perform the same marathon-length running routine after his starts, regardless of how well or how poorly he had pitched. He always knew the exact number of pitches he’d throw in a given week, and he meticulously followed his program as if it were written law.
“I just try to be more consistent and pay more attention to detail. I do it every day. And if it’s 15 reps, I do 15. Not 12 or 13,” Halladay told Sports Illustrated in 2010. It seems that anyone who coached or played alongside Halladay has a story of his tireless work ethic.
“I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45 a.m. on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said, ‘No, I just finished my workout.’ I knew right then—he was the real deal,” former teammate Chase Utley wrote on Instagram.
“His workouts were legendary. When you were in the box against Roy Halladay, you knew he was giving you his best,” former MLB first baseman Mark Teixeira said on ESPN.
The aforementioned Sports Illustrated profile by Tom Verducci reveals some of the specifics of Halladay’s incredible routine. From Verducci:
His capacity for work—both his physical endurance and his obsessive need to train his body—is freakish. Before the Phillies were required to be on the field this spring, Halladay had already worked out for 90 minutes nonstop: lifting weights, fielding a multisided rubber reaction ball, sliding laterally on a slide board, using the elliptical machine, running on the treadmill, pulling on rubber tubing and tackling other assorted exercises, capped off by stretching and then soaking in metal tubs, alternating between 110° water and 50° water to open and close his blood vessels, which helps his body recover more efficiently. In Toronto many of his teammates tried the lower-body regimen Halladay does on the day after starts. ‘None of them made it halfway,’ says former Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg.
Halladay’s exceptional work ethic allowed him to be the most tireless pitcher of his generation. He led his respective league in innings pitched on four separate occasions between 2002 and 2010. Halladay finished his career with an astonishing 67 complete games. CC Sabathia, the MLB’s active leader in complete games, currently has 38.
While his physical strength and endurance were extraordinary, Halladay was also a mental warrior. A copy of sports psychologist H.A. Dorfman’s book “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” helped him turn his career around after he posted a 10.64 ERA during his rookie season.
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