As we noted in the recaps, George Springer of the Astros probably made the catch of the day yesterday. There was a pretty good catch last night, however, too. It came in the Blue Jays-Red Sox game. It was made by . . . a Fenway Park usher.
I could not be more impressed with the form. Some ushers will lay out for a ball or make spectacular leaps and dives. That often means that they got a bad jump, however, or that they’re simply slow. Very Jim Edmonds-like if you ask me.
Defensive experts know that, often, the most seemingly effortless plays are made by those with the most defensive skill. Such plays speak to the usher’s instincts about positioning and being in the right place before they have to, not in the nick of time. To be like Andruw Jones who rarely had to dive for a ball because he broke the correct way the second it came off the bat and was casually waiting for it rather than merely getting to it.
Like this fellow. Just watch the master at work:
In 2016, late pitcher Roy Halladay was asked if he would prefer to wear a Blue Jays or Phillies cap on his plaque if he were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Per Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star, Halladay said, “I’d go as a Blue Jay.” He added, “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”
Obviously, circumstances have changed as Halladay tragically died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida in November 2017. Halladay was elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday, becoming the first player to be posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility since Christy Mathewson in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural year.
Today, Arash Madani reports that Halladay’s wife Brandy said her late husband will not wear a cap with the emblem of either team on his plaque. He will instead be portrayed with a generic baseball cap. Brandy said, “He was a Major League Baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered.”
Halladay spent 16 years in the majors, 12 with the Blue Jays and four with the Phillies. He meant a lot to both teams. He was a six-time All-Star and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2003 with the Jays. He won the NL Cy Young in 2010 with the Phillies and was a runner-up for the award in 2011, making the All-Star team both years and helping the Phillies continue their streak of reaching the postseason, which lasted from 2007-11. Halladay authored a perfect game in the regular season against the Marlins and a no-hitter in the postseason against the Reds as a member of the Phillies in 2010 as well.
In aggregate, Halladay won 203 games with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 2,749 1/3 innings during his storied 16-year career which was unfortunately cut a bit short by injuries.