Halladay ‘beau­ti­ful in­side and out’

The London Free Press - - SPORTS - STEVE BUF­FERY POST­MEDIA NEWS

CLEAR­WA­TER, Fla. — Roy Halladay’s fam­ily, friends and for­mer team­mates spoke of his com­pas­sion, his hu­mour, his work ethic, his ded­i­ca­tion, even his fear­less­ness.

But most of all, they spoke of his hu­man­ity, how he was an even bet­ter per­son than he was a pitcher. That as­pect of Doc Halladay’s per­son­al­ity has shone brightly in the days since the all-star pitcher’s sud­den death last week and it did again on Tues­day.

At the cel­e­bra­tion of Halladay’s life at Spec­trum Field — the spring train­ing ball park of the Philadel­phia Phillies — tears and laugh­ter in­ter­mixed, of­ten at the same time, as peo­ple close to the for­mer Toronto Blue Jays and Phillies ace spoke tear­fully about the man they lost on Nov. 7 when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mex­ico off the coast of Florida.

“He was awe-strik­ing. He was beau­ti­ful in­side and out,” Halladay’s widow Brandy said through tears as she ad­dressed the gath­er­ing. “When he spoke, peo­ple lis­tened. And I re­ally hope I can find the right words to be able ex­press how I’m feel­ing and to hon­our the man I’m still lucky enough to call my hus­band.”

Along with his fa­ther Roy Halladay Jr. and Brandy, no one spoke more lov­ingly than for­mer Jays team­mate Chris Car­pen­ter, who re­called the time they went fish­ing in the jun­gles of Brazil.

“One of the days we went fish­ing, it was like 100 de­grees out and he wanted to jump into the Ama­zon river. Re­mem­ber, we’re in the jun­gle,” Car­pen­ter said. “The wa­ter is as clear as a cup of cof­fee and we’ve been catch­ing pi­ra­nhas all day. I looked at him and said, ‘You’re freak­ing nuts.’ He said, ‘I know, but we can say we swam in the Ama­zon river and who do we know that can say that?’

“Be­fore I knew it, Doc belly flopped into that cof­fee-coloured wa­ter. He pro­ceeded to back­stroke around,” added Car­pen­ter, who jumped in as well be­fore they climbed out and hoisted a beer to cel­e­brate.

The sto­ries Tues­day flowed like the pace of the game when Halladay pitched and it was a credit to the man that such a large rep­re­sen­ta­tion from his two teams were present. The Jays fam­ily at the me­mo­rial in­cluded GMs past and present Pat Gil­lick, J.P. Ric­cia­rdi, Alex An­thopou­los and Ross Atkins; past and cur­rent pres­i­dents Paul God­frey and Mark Shapiro; me­dia guru Jay Sten­house; ex-man­ager Cito Gas­ton; head ath­letic trainer Ge­orge Poulis; and for­mer Toronto team­mates and ex-Jays Car­pen­ter, Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill, Frank Thomas, John McDon­ald, Lyle Over­bay, Scott Rolen, B.J. Ryan, Josh Tow­ers, Or­lando Hud­son, Ja­son Fra­sor, J.A. Happ, Scott Rolen and Ernie Whitt.

Halladay’s Philadel­phia fam­ily at the ser­vice in­cluded his for­mer man­ager Char­lie Manuel and team­mates Cole Hamels and Chase Ut­ley. Poulis be­came close to Halladay dur­ing the pitcher’s time with the Jays, as he con­stantly worked to keep the two-time Cy Young Award win­ner and leg­endary work­out fa­natic healthy.

“On the days the Doc pitched, we had a say­ing be­tween us. When I was done work­ing on him I would say, ‘Doc, have a good one’ be­fore he left the train­ing room to warm up,” Poulis said. Halladay wouldn’t head to the field un­less Poulis said the words. “He would re­main true to that every time he pitched. I look around at Roy’s fam­ily, friends, team­mates and staff to­day and I see sad­ness in their eyes that they will never see Roy again. But the mem­o­ries of his life and the pas­sion of how he lived and how many peo­ple’s life’s he touched will live on for­ever.

“So I say in clos­ing, ‘Doc, have a good one.’ ”

A pair of pic­tures of Halladay adorned the in­field dur­ing the me­mo­rial, just be­hind the pitch­ing mound, one in a Phillies uni­form and an­other in the blue and white of the Jays, with the num­bers he wore with both teams — 34 and 32 — in a flo­ral ar­range­ment.

When the two-hour cel­e­bra­tion ended, Brandy Halladay and sons Braden and Ryan re­leased but­ter­flies into the air from the mound. They didn’t seem to want to es­cape their cap­tiv­ity, just like peo­ple at the ser­vice didn’t want to leave their chairs af­ter­ward.

For­mer Jays scout­ing di­rec­tor Bob En­gle, who met Halladay the year be­fore the club drafted him, broke up talk­ing about the last time he spoke to Halladay, when the pitcher was in­ducted into the Cana­dian Base­ball Hall of Fame in June.

“I called him to con­grat­u­late him and he said, ‘How many years has it been Bob?’ ” En­gle said. “I told him 44 years and he started to chuckle. And we talked. You al­ways knew he had your back. He was the best of the best.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Brandy Halladay, the widow of Roy Halladay, and her sons Braden, left, and Ryan re­lease 32 but­ter­flies dur­ing a me­mo­rial trib­ute for Halladay at the Philadel­phia Phillies’ spring train­ing sta­dium in Clear­wa­ter, Fla., on Tues­day. The 32 rep­re­sents the num­ber Halladay wore with the Toronto Blue Jays.

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