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Baseball Hall of Fame could welcome Colorado prep legend Roy Halladay into Cooperstown

Roy Halladay on the cusp of joining Hall of Fame
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Posted at 11:36 AM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 13:54:03-05

DENVER — Roy Halladay grew up in Arvada throwing baseballs in the basement of the family home. He turned his practice into excellence, going 26-2 as prep star at Arvada West where his white jersey with purple pinstripes is encased near the gymnasium.

Nothing seemed impossible when the Blue Jays drafted the right-hander with the 17th overall pick in 1995. Nobody doubted Halladay would reach the big leagues. But even Halladay never believed this. In his first time on the ballot, Halladay remains poised to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

The announcement arrives at 4 p.m. Mountain Time. Based on tracking of more than 225 returns, Halladay is in position to join Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez in Cooperstown. Players must receive 75 percent of the vote for entrance.

Former Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker and first baseman Todd Helton are receiving support, but neither is trending toward entrance. Walker, however, has made a significant jump after receiving 34.1 percent of the vote last year. He has 37 additional votes aggregated by tracker Ryan Thibodaux. This represents Walker's ninth-year on the ballot, leaving him one last chance with the Baseball Writers of America next winter. Helton is hovering around 20 percent of the vote in his first attempt.

For the Halladay family, Tuesday is bittersweet. Halladay died on Nov. 7, 2017 in the crash of a plane he was piloting off the coast in Florida. He was 40 years old, enjoying life as a pilot and youth baseball coach for his kids. It was an abrupt end to a second chapter of his life that was blossoming. On the field, Halladay left an indelible footprint.

Halladay is attempting to become the second Colorado native to reach the Hall, joining former closer Rich "Goose" Gossage. Gossage was elected in 2008, his fury of arms, legs and 100-mph fastball finally convincing voters of his worth after first appearing on the ballot in 2000. First bitter, then mad, Goosage reacted to his honor with awe.

"A shock wave went through my body like an anvil just fell on my head," Gossage said on the day he took the call from his Colorado Springs home where he was a star high school school player. "I think having to wait makes it that much more special."

Halladay's stats scream of his worth. He won two Cy Young awards, one in each league with Toronto and Philadelphia. He finished 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA and finished in the top five of Cy Young voting seven times. Known as one of the last horses in the game, Halladay posted 67 complete games in a era of specialized bullpens. He threw a perfect game in 2010, and later added a no-hitter in the first game of the playoffs that season.

"Facing Doc, I had my hands full. Not only was his stuff second to none, he just competed at the highest level. He did not give in," former Rockies and current Yankees shortstop Troy Tulowitzi told Denver7. "I got the chance to meet him a few occasions. He was a true professional, and his presence was felt."

Halladay was gone too soon. But his legacy will grow, if, as expected, he receives baseball's highest honor on Tuesday.