Pay­ing their fi­nal re­spects

Fam­ily, friends, team­mates say fi­nal good­bye to Roy Halladay

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY FRED GOODALL

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 91-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,” Halladay died Nov. 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 12 sea­sons for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1998-2009 and four for the Phillies from 2009-13, go­ing 203-105 with a 3.38 ca­reer ERA.

The pub­lic me­mo­rial be­gan with a video trib­ute and ended with Halladay’s wife, Brandy, stand­ing on the mound and re­leas­ing but­ter­flies from a con­tainer in 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.” 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 and one-time team­mates Cliff Lee and Jimmy Rollins were among other special guests, who ac­com­pa­nied the fam­ily onto the field for the ser­vice.

AP PHOTO

Brandy Halladay, wife of late MLB pitcher Roy Halladay, walks looks at a pho­to­graph of her husband while es­corted back to her seat by Em­cee and Phillies an­nouncer Tom McCarthy dur­ing a Cel­e­bra­tion of Life for Roy Halladay at Spec­trum Field in Clear­wa­ter, Fla., on Tues­day.

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