On Tuesday night, it was reported that former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash. The plane in question was his small, prop plane that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida. Halladay was the only person on board. He was 40 years old and is survived by his wife and two sons.
The Philadelphia community and the baseball community are mourning the loss of one of the best pitchers of his generation and a likely future Hall of Famer. Halladay won two Cy Young awards over the course of his illustrious, 16-year career. He won one award each in Toronto and Philadelphia. He finished in the top five in Cy Young voting seven times total. A complete workhorse on the mound, Halladay led the league in innings pitched four times and surpassed 200 innings in eight different seasons. Though never a league-leader in strikeouts, Halladay won 20 games in a season three times, twice leading the league in that department. Also, perhaps most famously, Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first ever postseason start, 13 years into his MLB career. And it came in the same season that he threw a regular-season perfect game.
The Phillies organization released a statement expressing everyone’s sadness, calling Halladay “one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game.” Veteran Brandon McCarthy called him “your favorite player’s favorite player.” There have been floods of other sentiments about Halladay being a great teacher and how many pitchers modeled their games after him, or at least wanted to strive to be him.
It is rare that a Major League player earns the respect of everyone he faced and beat down. Most players obviously don’t like to be bested, but Halladay routinely did just that. He also earned endless accolades for his between-starts work ethic and mound demeanor. He fit the profile of a hated foe who managed to be hated by no one at all.
Halladay, who was an avid flyer, was hoping to teach others in his later life. According to the stories that are coming out, he impacted enough people in the life he did lead to make anyone proud.