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.
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) November 7, 2017
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.
Statement from the Blue Jays organization on the tragic passing of Roy Halladay: pic.twitter.com/Ih8D0RQE9p
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) November 7, 2017
Roy Halladay touched the lives of countless Canadian youth.
Rest In Peace, Doc. Your legacy will live on forever. 💙 pic.twitter.com/hYImlQJeh0
— Jays Care Foundation (@JaysCare) November 7, 2017
A simple ask of the Blue Jays – retire #32, put Roy Halladay’s name on the Level of Excellence and put up a statue in his honour outside the Rogers Centre.
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) November 8, 2017
During a long stretch of middling years, Roy Halladay was the brightest shining star and a total class act for the Blue Jays. Sad sad day.
— James Cybulski (@JamesCybulski) November 7, 2017
When Roy threw his perfect game, he bought about 60 watches to commemorate the occasion each engraved and personalized. The case had a plaque that read “Couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks” – Roy Halladay#FirstClass #LeadersLead #R.I.P.Doc pic.twitter.com/hoXNoAIFDX
— Nelson Figueroa Jr. (@FigSNY) November 8, 2017
— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) November 7, 2017
In shock over the terrible news about Roy Halladay… a pitcher I grew up admiring & rooting for. Praying for his family & friends. #RIPDoc
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) November 7, 2017
Oh my god man. Day ruined. Wow. Prayers with the entire Halladay family. This is awful! https://t.co/nrS2INJ231
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) November 7, 2017
1/ I have a story about Roy Halladay that sums up the player and the man. It was after he threw his 2010 post-season no-hitter v the Reds
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) November 7, 2017