Thursday, November 09, 2017

The baseball world still in shock over Halladay


Embed from Getty Images


Halladay getting honored at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame



It's not so often that tragedies happen to good people like Roy Halladay. Comments and quotes continue to pour in after his death in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico just a short distance from Florida.

His perfect game lives on forever in the hearts and minds of Phillies fans, I listened to a lot of talk on MLB Network Radio with ex-Phillies great, Brad Lidge, and radio host Jody McDonald, aka Jody Mack, who talked with many major league players and coaching staff about the life and career of Roy Halladay and the heartfelt comments were very touching.

Here's some more quotes from players from around the league from the MLB Network:

I have been fortunate over my career, and I’ve played with some greats. I played with Randy Johnson in Arizona, Roger Clemens, Pat Hentgen, a Cy Young Award winner. [Halladay] worked as hard as any baseball player, position player and/or pitcher. He loved his craft, and when he started to relearn his craft with that lower arm angle, when he came back up, to see this different kind of guy, I remember watching his first few starts thinking, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” because you see a lot of guys try a lot of different things to create movement and create arm angles. It doesn't work all that often. … This is the only guy that I can recall – and I’ve been since 1986 involved around big league baseball - where a guy completely re-changed his throwing motion. You don't see that very often, and usually when guys do that, they revert back to the old guy because as soon as they stop having success, they starting going back to being what they were. He stuck with it. He and Mel Queen spent countless hours remaking his game, and he was a perfectionist, too. To watch him throw a bullpen and to watch him go about doing his work, there was no messing around. … When Roy Halladay pulled in to the Rogers Centre - then the SkyDome - or in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, he came for one reason: he came there to work and he came there to win. He's a throwback to guys from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980’s. Roy Halladay was the real deal.

Roy was a special man and a special player, someone that even though I faced a lot, I still wanted to see succeed. It’s hard when you’re on the opposite side and at the same time be rooting for a guy, but when you know his career, his adversities that he went through and to yet come up to the big leagues and still have success and to overcome the struggles and still be so successful, you have no choice but to root for him. I’m extremely sad for him, I know how much he loved his family and what kind of person he was. This is a hard one to swallow for all of us in baseball. My deepest condolences to his family, his beautiful wife, his two kids. I don’t have words to actually say how sad I feel about him.

He had a great sense of humor… I sent over a jersey. Sometimes you do that, you have admiration, like I did. I said, “Roy, I’d love it if you could sign a jersey.” He said “No problem, send it over.” We were friendly, we had respect for each other, we were on different teams. He sends it back over, and he obviously had found out through somebody that I was a big Chris Farley fan, and he writes "Dempster: I always enjoyed watching you pitch from my van down by the river." First of all, to know that about me and to have the sense of humor to write that down - it hangs in my house. I have six baseball jerseys hanging in my house and he’s one of them. I can't speak enough how much admiration I had. This is an incredibly sad day.

I think of Roy and I remember my last year with the Blue Jays. He was the number-one pick out of high school out of Colorado. I remember it because we had the same agent, Alan and Randy Hendricks. They bring the first round draft pick to the stadium. I remember meeting him, and it was short and then over a period of time, I never got a chance to play with Roy but certainly knew many that did and I would also say hello, the casual salutations you have on the field when you cross him. He was a heck of a teammate and he was a wonderful guy. There are a lot of players, pitchers in particular, who attributed much of their success as a result of his communication and his caring for others.


My mind wonders back to Cory Lidle, also a former Phillies pitcher, who died tragically in a plane crash in New York City on October 11, 2006. Lidle, who then wore a Yankees uniform in the last season that he played was also a very good pitcher and family guy. Another great Phils pitcher who also died tragically in a crash, a player with a passion for flying. Randy Miller has an excellent piece written here about both tragic circumstances from NJ.com.




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