As most of you have already heard, Blue Jay and baseball legend, Roy Halladay, died earlier today when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay was 40 years old, and just four years removed from playing in the big leagues.
For those of you old enough to remember, we watched and admired Halladay from the very beginning of his professional career as a ball player. From when he came within one out of no-hitting the Detroit Tigers in just his second career start back in 1998. To being sent down to the minors in 2001 where he retooled his delivery with pitching guru Mel Queen, and then returned to the Blue Jays and began his legendary run as one of the greatest pitchers to ever play this game.
No Blue Jays player more so than Halladay wanted Toronto to become a contender and make a return to the post-season. In 2006, when he signed a new contract with the Blue Jays, he agreed to far less money than he could have received elsewhere simply because that was the kind of person he was. He truly loved being a Blue Jay and wanted to win here more than anything.
During Halladay’s years with the Blue Jays between 1998-2009, Toronto struggled against far superior teams and unfortunately never did make the post-season. Despite being far outmatched by stacked teams from New York and Boston, whenever Halladay was on the mound, Toronto was transformed from an average team into an elite one. I’ve never seen a pitcher who was so automatic on the mound. Who threw almost every single pitch with such perfection. Those years were tough at times for the Blue Jays, but when Halladay was pitching, it reminded you why you love this team and game so much.
Roy Halladay epitomized greatness, both as an athlete and person. He was special, and he’ll be missed dearly.