Roy Halladay, former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, was killed in a plane crash while flying over the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay was the pilot of the small-engine aircraft that went down off the coast of Florida early Tuesday afternoon.
His father was a corporate pilot and Halladay had expressed a passion for flying dating back to when he was a child. He received his pilot’s license after his retirement from the MLB, several years prior to this week’s crash.
The Denver native retired from the MLB almost four years ago and is on track to become a member in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In a press conference following his retirement, Halladay cited a back injury and a desire to be more involved with his family as his reasons for stepping down as the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Following his retirement in 2013, Halladay continued to pursue his passion for the game as a volunteer coach for youth baseball teams in Florida and as a guest instructor for the Phillies and the Blue Jays.
Halladay’s career began in 1995 when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in a first round pick. He made his debut in the league at the age of 21 in September of 1998. Since his debut, his baseball career has been decorated with numerous highlights and major awards. He pitched in a total of 16 seasons throughout his time with the Phillies and the Blue Jays, putting up impressive statistics in every season and becoming a “first” for league history on several occasions.
Halladay is the first player in MLB history to throw both a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season. His perfect game came in May, 2009, his first season with the Phillies, and marked the twentieth perfect game in league history. In October of the same year, Halladay became the first pitcher in 54 years to throw a postseason no-hitter. The last player to pitch a post-season no hitter prior to Halladay was Don Larsen for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series.
He played 12 seasons with Toronto during which he was named to the American League All-Star team six times and won the Cy Young Award for the first time in 2003. Halladay completed his last four seasons in the league with the Philadelphia Phillies, winning the Cy Young Award for a second time in 2003 and being named to the All-Star team an additional two times. Halladay is one of six players throughout MLB history to win two Cy Young Awards, one in both the American and National League.
Following the crash, there was an outpouring of support and condolences for Halladay and his family. Halladay will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019