Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay was remembered Tuesday as an amazing husband, father, friend and teammate who was one of the best pitchers of his generation but an even better man.
A 90-minute ‘Celebration of Life for Roy Halladay’ attracted more than 1,000 people to Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, one of two franchises Halladay played for during a stellar 16-year career.
‘The man made the ballplayer,’ Phillies owner John Middleton said, ‘not the other way around.’
Brandy Halladay, widow of Roy Halladay, talks about her husband during a memorial tribute at the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training stadium
Brandy Halladay, Roy’s wife, reaches for a baseball on the mound at the end of a memorial tribute for her husband
Brandy becames emotional as she spoke about her late husband
A photo and floral arrangement with the jersey number of former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, who died last week in a plane crash, stand near the mound
Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, died November 7 at age 40 when the private plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida
Halladay died November 7 at age 40 when the private plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
The eight-time All-Star who pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter, Halladay played for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1998-2009 and for the Phillies from 2009-13, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.
The public memorial began with a video tribute and ended with Halladay’s wife, Brandy, and sons, Braden and Ryan, standing on the mound and releasing butterflies from a container in a final ‘goodbye.’
‘All eyes are on me,’ the pitcher’s wife, the last of nine speakers, said from a rostrum perched behind the mound, flanked by pictures of Halladay with the Phillies and Blue Jays, along with floral arrangements bearing the 34 and 32 jersey numbers he wore.
‘I’m really fortunate that I’ve gotten used to that feeling. I’ve literally been standing next to a man for 21 years that people could not take their eyes off of,’ she said. ‘He was awe-striking. He was beautiful inside and out. Without saying a word, he seemed to always have just the right thing to say. When he did speak, people listened.’
Roy Halladay Jr.. walks past a photo of his son after speaking during a memorial tribute
Calvary Christian High School baseball players sat above the dugout during the tribute. Halladay was a volunteer coach at the high school
Brandy Halladay, the wife of the late Roy Halladay, and her sons Braden, left, and Ryan, right, release 32 butterflies during the memorial
Other speakers included Halladay’s dad, Roy Jr., former teammates Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Chris Carpenter, long-time baseball executive and former Blue Jays GM JP Ricciardi, ex-Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and Blue Jays trainer George Poulis.
Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, Rays manager Kevin Cash, and one-time teammates Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Jose Bautista, BJ Ryan, A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ were among other guests.
‘He didn’t like to lose, so everything he did, he did to win. But there was a joy to it. I’ll always remember that,’ Rollins said. ‘He made you better. That’s what he did. Everywhere you went, he made everything better.’
Carpenter grew up with Halladay in the Blue Jays organization; Hamels valued the 6-foot-6 right-hander as a friend, teammate and mentor; and Utley lauded the pitcher’s relentless work ethic as a player.
‘I saw everyday what it took to be a man among boys,’ Utley said.
LA Dodgers infielder Chase Utley talks about his former Philadelphia Phillies teammate
Brandy Halladay looks at a photograph of her husband while being escorted back to her seat by Emcee and Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy during a Celebration of Life for Roy
Philadelphia Phillies fan Michael Degler waits for the start of a memorial service celebrating Roy Halladay’s life
Carpenter told a story about going swimming in the Amazon River when he and Halladay took a trip to Brazil after the close friends faced each other in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series between Philadelphia and St. Louis in 2011. Carpenter won 1-0.
‘He was never afraid of a challenge or doing something others might not want to do – or dare to do,’ Carpenter said.
‘Remember now, we’re in the jungle. The water is clear as a cup of coffee and we’ve been catching piranha all day. I told him, you’re nuts,’ Carpenter said. ‘He said, ‘I know. Now come on Carp. … We can say we swam in the Amazon River. Who do we know who can ever say that?’ I was like: ‘All right. Good point. Let’s do it.”
Brandy Halladay cried throughout her 17-minute tribute, remembering her husband as a family man who loved his two sons.
Former teammates echoed those sentiments, insisting that as great a pitcher as Halladay was, they were more impressed by the man off the field.
‘He tried to be the best that he could be. Full of passion and desire,’ former major leaguer Raul Ibanez said. ‘He was not a one-dimensional man. Who he was, everything about him was just great and grace. He carried himself with class and confidence and humility. Just a tremendous human being.’
A baseball sits on the mound between baseball great Roy Halladay”s Philadelphia Phillies jersey number 34 and Toronto Blue Jays jersey number 32
People embrace at the conclusion of a memorial service celebrating the life of former Major League Baseball player Roy Halladay
In the days since his death, video footage showed Halladay performing dangerous stunts in his micro plane over the Gulf of Mexico shortly before his fatal crash.
The baseball player and amateur pilot of three years died when his special-edition Icon A5 amphibious plane plunged into the water.
This was the third A5 crash this year, including one that killed the plane’s lead designer in May.
The plane is marketed at people who have never flown before.
‘It’s a very new design,’ aviation journalist Stephen Pope told Yahoo! Sports, ‘but what we know about the airplane is, the plane is safe, but marketing the airplane designed to be a flying toy… seems like a recipe for disaster.’
Halladay, an ex-MLB pitcher had been given the first in a special series of A5s (pictured) and was promoting it for the company. But his became the third to crash this year
A week before the crash, Halladay had boasted that he had been flying ‘low over the water’ and that the experience was ‘like flying a fighter jet’. Halladay got his pilot’s license in 2014