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Admiration for Halladay

Posted by Eric Fisher On November 7


That is what we have at our disposal in times of loss. And, in cases like the death of Roy Halladay at 40 years old, those words are insufficient.

Perhaps words can be found to properly describe the euphoria of Halladay’s 2010 Phillies masterpieces, the perfect game against the Marlins and the no-hitter in his first taste of the postseason, which didn’t come until the 13th year of his incredible career.

But there aren’t any words adequate for describing the tragedy of losing a man like Roy Halladay in a plane crash at 40 years old.

Halladay was much more than a great pitcher. He was, by all accounts, a tremendous human being.

Halladay earned the respect of his teammates. He earned the respect of opponents. And he earned the respect of the fans.

Chase Utley, whose work ethic is legendary, posted on Instagram about his encounter with Halladay at 5:45 a.m. on the first day of spring training. “He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said, ‘No, I just finished my workout.’ I knew right then – he was the real deal.”

The tributes poured in from all over baseball. And they were overflowing with admiration and respect.

The common theme was that this amazing pitcher was also a wonderful person.

In the statement released by the Phillies, they mourn “the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game.” The statement from the Blue Jays, with whom he spent the first 12 years of his career, described Halladay as “one of the franchise’s greatest and most respected players, but even better human being.”

Passo County (Fla.) Sheriff Chris Nocco, while confirming Halladay’s death, said you would never know that Halladay was a former athlete, let alone that he was a two-time Cy Young Award winner, except that he was 6-foot-6. Nocco described Halladay as a humble man of faith who was “a friend of ours (the police).”

Accolades aren’t uncommon after a person dies, but the volume and consistency of the praise for Halladay indicate that his life isn’t being viewed through rose-colored glasses. Anyone who followed Halladay’s career can attest that the same types of things were said about him while he was alive.

Fans also felt a special connection with Halladay. There was never any doubt that Halladay was giving his best effort every time he was on the mound.

In an era when pitching six innings can be considered a quality start, Halladay wanted to finish what he started. He hurled 67 complete games in 390 starts, a rate of nearly 17.2 percent. Pity the manager or pitching coach who started to head out to the mound, only to receive the determined stare from Halladay that delivered the message that he wasn’t coming out of the game.

Phillies fans will never forget Halladay. But the fans admired Halladay from afar. His teammates, managers and coaches knew him far better than fans or media members. And nobody knew Halladay like his family and friends.

Words can’t adequately describe their pain.

Just as words can’t do justice to the life of Roy Halladay and the tragedy of losing him at 40 years old.

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