The concept of the Fame Audit was first pioneered by the fine website Fametracker.com during the early part of the last decade. The snarky, pop culture-based evaluations of relative and deserved levels of fame for actors or musicians were debated by alert writers, many of whom went on to bigger and better things like the Onion AV Club and death.
In my infinite, creatively bereft wisdom, and with Fame Tracker lying dormant for the better part of 4 years (well beyond the internet statute of limitations of 20 minutes), I thought it might be a hoot to re-purpose the Fame Audit and apply it to baseball players. Who is more famous than his playing ability deserves? Who isn’t famous enough? Why might a given player lag behind/receive undue fame? How many Derek Jeter insults can we slip into each post?
Follow me under the jump as we focus the Getting Blanked Fame Audit microscope on none other than Roy Halladay.
Assessing the fame of Roy Halladay is quite difficult. He’s undoubtedly very famous, just as he’s undoubtedly the best pitcher in baseball. Had we audited his fame two years ago, he would surely rank as severely underfamous. A move to one of the most popular teams in baseball surely helped to level out his fame.
In fact, Roy Halladay may be approaching a level of, dare I say, overexposure. Recent appearances on video game covers and in pithy ad campaigns prove Halladay is well known around baseball and beyond.
The recently published list of top-selling baseball jerseys ranked Halladay third, proving Philly fans have an insatiable appetite for spending money on Phillies crap. Halladay was noticeably absent from the top 15 even just last year.
Throwing a perfect game might increase your fame, but throwing only the second no-hitter in baseball post-season history does wonders for the fame level of your average baseball player. Roy Halladay is certainly among the best known active baseball players. Halladay outpaces fellow starters C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, and even hesher rock star Tim Lincecum in the ever-important Google hits. Halladay isn’t on Twitter because he’s Roy Halladay, but one would assume his grim determination doesn’t translate well to 140 character quips.
An underrated part of Halladay’s rise in popularity: his much-improved fantasy baseball profile. Having taken a “pitch to contact” mantra too literally for a few years, Halladay’s status as a first round fantasy baseball slam dunk took a hit. During his final seasons in Toronto his strikeout numbers suffered, which brought down his fantasy baseball profile. A few seasons in the late round wilderness until he realized the efficiency of the strikeout. When the Ks returned, so did Halladay’s status as a fantasy stud.
Roy Halladay doesn’t do his fame any favours by conducting himself like a self-respecting, introverted adult and intensely private Mormon. He doesn’t make a lot of waves or appear on late night talk shows. He just does his thing very, very well. Spending the first dozen years of his career beating up on the Red Sox and Yankees didn’t do enough for his fame as it is hard to achieve notoriety with only one team on the field. The reigning Cy Young award winner isn’t even front and center for the Phillies SI cover shot!
It is pretty safe to say that the person least concerned with Roy Halladay’s fame is Roy Halladay. Whether you consider his steely determination and lack of affectation a disarming safety blanket or just the way he conducts his business, it is hard to imagine a more innocuous superstar.
Depending on how he wraps up the final stages of his career, he could end up as one of the best pitchers of his time. He might not have the same kind of outsized personality and big market exposure of pitchers like Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson, but we get the sense that is just the way he likes it.
Fame assets: Unmatched excellence in his chosen profession. Late career move to baseball hotbed. Surprisingly life-like and supple humanoid exoskeleton.
Fame deterrents: Long career spent on frozen tundra. Quiet demeanor. Religious affiliation known to make people uncomfortable, best described as “icky.”
Current level of baseball fame: Mike Mussina.
Deserved level of baseball fame: Andy Pettitte.
Nana Index (number of nanas, out of 100, who could offer a working definition of Roy Halladay): 52.