Fam­ily, friends, team­mates say good­bye to Halladay

Times Colonist - - Sports -

CLEAR­WA­TER, Florida — Toronto Blue Jays pitch­ing great 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 the twotime Cy Young Award win­ner 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 for the Blue Jays from 1998 to 2009 and for the Phillies from 2009 to 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.

“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 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 Sr., for­mer team­mates Cole Hamels, Chase Ut­ley and Chris Carpenter, long­time baseball ex­ec­u­tive and for­mer Blue Jays GM JP Ric­cia­rdi, exPhillies man­ager Char­lie Manuel and Blue Jays trainer Ge­orge Poulis.

For­mer Blue Jays man­ager Cito Gas­ton 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.

Ut­ley lauded the pitcher’s re­lent­less work ethic as a player. “I saw ev­ery day what it took to be a man among boys.”

For­mer team­mates echoed those sen­ti­ments, in­sist­ing that as great a pitcher as Halladay was, they were more im­pressed by the man off the field.


Brandy Halladay ad­dresses guests at Tues­day’s me­mo­rial for her husband, Roy Halladay.

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