Are the Phillies Preparing to Retire Roy Halladay’s Number 34?
Former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay gave the Phillies some of the best pitching performances the organization has ever seen. After Halladay retired in 2013, had been retired just one offseason, his good friend A.J. Burnett signed a one-year deal with the Phillies. One thing they had in common: they wore number 34.
Current Phillies number retirement rules state that the player must be an elected member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame for their numbers to be retired. Halladay may be up for that honor when his name appears on a ballot next year. While Halladay's career was on the shorter side and numbers such as his win total might be on the lower side compared to others, it is hard to find a more dominating pitcher in Halladay's era.
Halladay spent just four seasons with the Phillies, which some may argue was not a long enough span to warrant a number being retired. However, with a Cy Young award, perfect game and postseason no-hitter, Halladay pitched some of the most memorable games in Phillies history. Phillies fans are likely to remember Halladay's accomplishments over his length of time in the organization.
In comparison, Jim Bunning pitched six seasons with the Phillies and received a jersey retirement honor upon his veterans committee election to the Hall of Fame. Best remembered for his perfect game on Fathers Day 1964, Bunning gave the Phillies one of the best four-year runs in his career. Bunning then returned to the Phillies for his final two seasons.
While the Phillies hold jersey numbers 6, 11, 26 and 35 out of circulation for now, there is one former Phillie with a real imminent chance to be elected to the Hall of Fame, and that's Halladay. Maybe the Phillies will take number 34 out of circulation until the 2018 Hall of Fame ballots are collected and we learn who the Hall of Fame class of 2019 is. Should Halladay be elected, his number could be among other Phillies greats on the brick of Ashburn Alley.