Elliott: Halladay plaque unveiled at Jack Russell in Clearwater
By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Truth be told, the late Roy Halladay never wore the Philadelphia Phillies uniform No. 34 at Jack Russell Stadium.
Yet, last week at Jack Russell, the Phillies former home in Clearwater, Fla. his plaque with a Phillies cap and the No. 34 was officially unveiled.
Roy “Doc” Halladay
Blue Jays 1998-2009
Pitched here while with the Blue Jays. Only pitcher in Phillies history to toss two no hitters in one year (2010), a perfect game in Miami and baseball’s second post-season no hitter (Oct. 6, vs. CIN in NLDS). Won Cy Young Award in AL in (2003) and NL (2010, 21-10). Combined record of 203-105. Volunteer baseball coach as Calvary Christian High School, Clearwater. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (2019).
Besides visiting Tom Cheek’s grave at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park on Sunset Point Road each spring, Blue Jays fans will now stop by Jack Russell located at 800 Phillies Drive.
The Phillies played at Jack Russell from 1955 through good times and bad before moving a few blocks closer to I-19 and a new yard Brighthouse Field in 2004.
The grandstand at Jack Russell is gone, but no one can erase the memories. St. Petersburg Junior College and Clearwater High still call the diamond home.
Besides those teams the park is home to amateur tourneys, so the City of Clearwater thought it would be an excellent place for a memorial garden with monuments since there was so much history at the stadium and so many greats had played on Jack Russell.
The city father decided to build a “monument park” to honour Phillies Hall of Famers 3B Mike Schmidt, CF Richie Ashburn, RHP Robin Roberts, LHP Steve Carlton, RHP Jim Bunning and Halladay, who spent each spring of his whole career pitching in Pinellas County.
Rick Vaughn, a Robert O. Fischel award winner in 2003 when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays, researched the names of all the Hall of Famers who ever played spring games at Jack Russell ... from Stan Musial to Mariano Rivera.
Toronto writers always enjoyed the trip to Clearwater because it was so close ... and because one could usually find legends like the Huey Alexander, Dallas Green, Larry (The Baron) Shenk and Jim Fregosi in the press room.
And former Phillies, who played the ,majority of their career elsewhere also get mentioned including RHP Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) former Toronto Maple Leaf manager Sparky Anderson, Tony Perez, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Morgan.