The responses to the sudden death of Toronto Blue Jays legend, Roy Halladay have been prolific and meaningful
Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays lost an icon from their past. Roy Halladay died suddenly in a plane crash on Tuesday and we are all trying to wrap our heads around this sad news. Obviously, more than a baseball hero falling, the Halladay family lost their father and husband. Whatever feelings of loss and memory we may be feeling, it pales in comparison. We can only understand pieces of his life and impact on this world.
Since news broke of his death, that is exactly what Blue Jays Land has been trying to do: paint a picture of just how much Doc meant to those he cam in contact with. Aside from some disgusting radio personalities that will not get any kind of attention from this site, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who had something negative to say about #32. The writers at Jays From the Couch all contributed their reactions HERE and it turns out, we were just one part of a great deal of sharing that took place in the aftermath of this tragedy. What follows is a collection of a grieving process, of sorts.
Roy Halladay hosted a make-a-wish child at spring training. A hot March Day I sat outside clubhouse as Doc took the child inside. Ten minutes later he emerged by himself with bottles of water for the parents then went back inside. He was a special athlete #bluejays
— Richard Griffin (@RGriffinStar) November 8, 2017
Joanna Cornish of Hum and Chuck wrote a great piece for CBC outlining the hope that Halladay offered in a time when there wasn’t any for fans. She did an excellent job of explaining to the masses exactly how important he was to those who followed the Blue Jays in the 2000’s: “He was arguably the best pitcher in baseball in the 2000s. He pitched in ugly uniforms, to middling crowds, in a cold, concrete mausoleum, in a city the American media had long ago dismissed as a “hockey town.” Ever-patient Blue Jays fans couldn’t always rely on a lot, but they could rely on excellence every fifth day.”
Ken Davidoff of the NY Post wrote about Halladay’s sheer dominance, which led him to lead the league in complete games, something that is almost unheard of these days. Halladay collected 67 complete games over his career, including 9 in a season FOUR different times. He also had seasons with 7 and 8 to his credit. As Davidoff points out, it was his work ethic that allowed him to be successful and made him a role model to his teammates. “Halladay did his job [w]ith dedication, and without celebration. He served as a role model for both his physical conditioning and his mental strength; he gladly aided teammates with both components. He treated the fans and the media with respect, yet good luck trying to get him to do or say something colorful.”
Writing for Sportsnet, Tao of Stieb highlights some of the better moments of Halladay’s time in Toronto, including his battle for the 2003 Cy Young award. What makes Tao’s piece so poignant is the reminder of the family man that Halladay was and how much they supported him and loved the city of Toronto. “For all the love and admiration we as fans have for Roy Halladay, we owe equal measures of love and support to his family, now and in the years to come.”
Rachel Bowers of Boston.com collected comments from former and current Boston Red Sox players as they reacted to the news.
RT.com shared reactions from all over baseball, including a statement from the commissioner of MLB: “All of us at Baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. A well-respected figure throughout the game, Roy was a fierce competitor during his 16-year career, which included eight All-Star selections, two Cy Young Awards, a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, including his wife, Brandy, and two sons, Ryan and Braden, his friends and countless fans, as well as the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations.”
Rashad Milligan of RollingOut.com also had a collection of reactions from MLB players, past and present. Including this from a sure fire Hall of Famer:
My prayers go out the family of Roy Halladay. He was a fierce competitor between the lines and a considerate friend, husband, and father off the field. His wife Brandy and sons are in our hearts and prayers tonight. #RIPDoc
— Albert Pujols (@PujolsFive) November 8, 2017
Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Jay Jaffe looked into the case for Roy Halladay’s enshrinement. It is widely assumed Doc’s plaque would feature a Blue Jays hat, which he would have worn were he to be present for his ceremony. Of course, that is all assuming he is elected. Jaffe points out that Halladay’s case likely won’t be rushed because of his passing and he will be eligible in 2019. That is the earliest we can expect to see him enter the Hall. And, according to Jaffe, Halladay being the last of the workhorses just might help his chances.
Daniel Levitt of Five Thirty Eight wrote that Halladay was the greatest pitcher of his generation. According to a graphic complied by Levitt, Halladay led all pitchers in WAR since 2000 with a mark of 61.7! The list includes names like Kershaw, Greinke and Verlander.
Sports Illustrated had a piece on how hard it is to lose a sports hero. The story included several reports of the kind of person Halladay was to those he worked with in Philadelphia. There is the time he bought watches for every member of the organization after his perfect game. He called a press conference to apologize to fans after an injury. How about when he wanted Joe Blanton included in the “Aces” cover of SI?
Roy Halladay made his point. He was going to hold out until Joe Blanton was included in this 2011 Sports Illustrated cover photo. “Everybody labeled us as 'The Four Aces',” Cole Hamels said. "Roy came in and said, 'No, it’s Five Aces.'" https://t.co/IYMs37Qr3e pic.twitter.com/squJRMZcOu
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticPHI) November 8, 2017
Despite attempts at trashy takes in the wake of the passing of Roy Halladay, one thing that comes through loud and clear is the impact he had on those he came in contact with. Sometimes, words do not seem sufficient in certain tasks. Many have, and will, attempt to put Halladay’s impact on the world of baseball into words. As many words as there will be, one wonders if they will be enough.
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