Remembering ‘Doc’ as ‘one of the greatest’

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By Bill Gelman

The Philadelphia Phillies family and their fans received some shocking news last week — former ace pitcher Roy Halladay, 40, died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 7. The pitcher, who stepped away from baseball four years ago, was piloting his single-engine aircraft.

The Phillies expressed their condolences following the passing of the former two-time Cy Young Award winner:

“We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death. There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden.”

Halladay split his 16 seasons between the Toronto Blue Jays and Phillies, compiling a 203–105 career mark with a 3.38 earned run average. The eight time All-Star tossed a perfect game for the Phillies during the 2010 season and followed it up by tossing a no-hitter in the postseason. He is one of two pitchers in MLB history to toss a no-no in the playoffs, with the other one being former New York Yankee Don Larsen, who accomplished the feat in the 1956 World Series.

Former teammate Jamie Moyes, who was a member of the Phillies 2008 World Series team, shared his heartbreak over the news:

“I am heartbroken and saddened by the loss of Roy Halladay. Roy’s impact on the game of baseball will always be respected and his impact on his teammates will always be cherished,” Moyer said. “Roy was one of those special teammates that made you better by his presence and his passion for excellence. The game of baseball will miss that presence greatly. My prayers go out to Brandy, Ryan and Braden and the entire Halladay family.”

Former catcher Carlos Ruiz also was shocked by the news.

“When I got the phone call and heard the news about Roy, I was truly devastated,” he said “Roy was one of the greatest pitchers I ever caught, and an even better person and friend.”

The Halladay family released a statement about their beloved husband and father.

“Roy grew up with a passion for planes and always had the goal of becoming a pilot. Since retiring from baseball, he has been actively studying, accumulating the required flight hours and obtaining multiple pilot certifications and licenses. Just as he was known for his work ethic in baseball, he was also widely respected by those who knew him in the aviation community for his hard work, attention to detail and dedication to safety while flying,” the family said. “He treated his passion for aviation with the same joy and enthusiasm as he did his love for baseball.”

The Halladay family held a celebration of life for Roy Halladay at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida, yesterday afternoon. In lieu of flowers, the Halladay family kindly requests that contributions be made to: Halladay Family Foundation c/o The Giving Back Fund, 5757 W. Century Blvd., Suite 410, Los Angeles, California, 90045. It supports organizations that are tied to two causes that are most meaningful to the Halladay family — youth sports programs and animal welfare. Beneficiaries of foundation funding will include, but is not limited to, organizations that provide the opportunity for young athletes to develop to their highest potential, with particular emphasis on sportsmanship and building greater self-esteem. Additionally, organizations that help to improve the quality of life for animals through rescue, adoption and humane treatment will be eligible to receive funding.