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On Tuesday, retired pitcher Roy Halladay was killed when his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the crash and if there were any passengers on board (none were found initially). Halladay had talked publicly about his desire to fly planes, but was only permitted to get his license after he retired from baseball. The former Toronto Blue Jay was 40 years-old.

During his 16 years in the big leagues, Hallaway spent 12 with the Blue Jays and became one of the greatest pitchers the franchise has ever known. He is a two-time Cy Young Award winner (the highest honour awarded to pitchers) and an eight-time All-Star. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of the 2010 baseball season and played with them for three years before signing a one-day contract with the Blue Jays in 2013 so he could retire with the team. Halladay’s career includes a 10-inning shutout win (the 20th perfect game in MLB history) and the second-ever playoff no-hitter. On Jan. 24, 2017, Halladay was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

The technical details of his baseball career are only half the story though. To a city that was five years off their back-to-back World Series wins, with not a hope in sight of getting another one any time soon (24 years and still waiting), Halladay’s talent on the mound was electrifying. In his second big league start ever, he pitched a nearly perfect game. Though Toronto wasn’t filling the stadium at the time, those who showed up for games loved themselves that Halladay. It was because of his obvious talent that Jays fans were actually okay when he requested to be traded after the 2009 season. He was too good for the team he had behind him. Halladay took out a full page in the Toronto Sun to thank the Toronto fans.

Sports fans are quick to feel betrayed when a player leaves, but Toronto wished Halladay well because they knew he deserved better. Then, in a classic ‘if you love something, set it free’ scenario, Halladay returned to the Jays for his retirement. Jays fans across Canada shared their memories and expressed their sadness at the loss of such an incredible player and man.

#RIPDocHalladay

A post shared by Marcus Stroman (@mstrooo6) on

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