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Baseball

Cy Young caps career revival for Halladay

Jays pitcher, who feared for career after demotion in 2001, easily wins AL award.

By Associated Press
Published November 12, 2003

NEW YORK - Roy Halladay bounced back from Class A to the AL Cy Young Award in little more than two years.

His pitching was so messed up during spring training in 2001 that the Blue Jays left him in Dunedin to work out his troubles, causing Halladay to wonder if his baseball career was at an end.

Now, he has left the rest of the league's pitchers behind.

Halladay was an overwhelming winner of the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, easily beating Chicago's Esteban Loaiza.

"When I went down that far, and really had no idea what I was going to do to get it back until I found that help, (it) was a little scary for me," he said during a conference call.

After winning a major league-high 22 games, Halladay received 26 first-place votes and two seconds for 136 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Halladay's big year included a 15-game winning streak.

He credited former Blue Jays pitching coach Mel Queen for curing his mechanics and sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman for straightening out his head.

"I think both of those go hand in hand as what made the difference for me," said Halladay, who has the most wins in the major leagues over the past two seasons.

The right-hander, 26, never had won more than eight games in a season when he went 0-2 with a 9.23 ERA during spring training in 2001. That's when Toronto sent him to Dunedin.

Queen had Halladay change his delivery.

"I went from pretty much straight over the top to three-quarters, which basically gave me more movement to both sides of the plate," Halladay said.

Dorfman, who has worked with four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux, got Halladay to focus, to "block everything out, be positive and go one pitch at a time," the pitcher said.

Halladay made it back to the Blue Jays on July 1 and went 5-3 in the second half. He was 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA in a breakout 2002.

This season he finished 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA, going unbeaten from May 1 to July 27 and tying for the AL lead with nine complete games.

"It was an unbelievable ride for me," Halladay said. "There were some games in there where I got a lot of help from my teammates."

Halladay's wins came in his last 30 starts. He was 0-2 in his first six.

"When I started pitching better, we started playing better all together," Halladay said. "They started scoring runs and helping me get comfortable."

His 1-0, 10-inning victory over Detroit on Sept. 7 was the first extra-inning shutout in the major leagues since Jack Morris led Minnesota over Atlanta in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

[Last modified November 12, 2003, 01:34:28]


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