Former Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay killed in plane crash
Kayla Goodfield, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, November 7, 2017 3:58PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 7, 2017 9:27PM EST
Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay is dead following a plane crash Tuesday off the coast of Florida, the Pasco County Sheriff has confirmed.
Halladay, 40, originally from Denver, Colo. was the only occupant of the small seaplane at the time of the crash.
The former baseball players’ ICON A5 light sport aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Following the crash, officials said there was no mayday call sent out before Halladay’s aircraft crashed into the shallow water.
Speaking shortly after the fatal incident, Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters Halladay was considered “a part of their family.”
“Many know Roy as a Cy Young Winner and future Hall of Famer, one of the best pitchers to pitch in the game of baseball but we know Roy as a person, as a caring husband who loved his wife Brandy and loved his two boys tremendously,” he said. “When he spoke of his family he spoke with pride and to Brandy and the boys and the entire family, we are so sad for your loss.”
“We know how much he meant to you and we know how much you meant to him.”
Nocco described Halladay as a “kind” and “generous” person.
“I can speak as somebody who knew him. He was a part of our Sheriff office. His kids went to school with some of our kids. He was there whenever we needed him. He was probably one of the most humble human beings you’ll ever meet.”
“He would just walk into a room as if he was just anybody.”
Halladay was an eight-time all-star and received the Cy Young Award twice. He played for the Blue Jays from 1998 to 2009 and joined the Philadelphia Phillies between 2010 and 2013.
He won a Cy Young Award with the Blue Jays in 2003 and took the national league award in 2010 with the Phillies.
Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history on May 29, 2010.
Over 16 seasons in the major leagues Halladay had a 203-105 record with a 3.38 ERA.
His baseball career was cut short on Dec. 9, 2013 due to a continuing back injury. Prior to his retirement, he signed a one-day contract allowing him to retire as a member of the Blue Jays franchise.
Back in 2013, Halladay said he was retiring to avoid back surgery.
“As a baseball player, you realize that’s something you can’t do the rest of your life,” he said. “I really don’t have any regrets. You realize there’s other things for you to accomplish in life.”
Halladay was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame last June and will be eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2019.
Speaking with The Canadian Press, former Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash said he was shocked and devastated by Halladay’s death.
Ash was GM for the baseball club when Halladay was selected in the first round of the 1995 amateur draft.
“He was a very sincere guy, a very intense guy. He had strong beliefs and routines and he pretty much kept to those. He wasn’t a guy that you were ever going to find in any kind of controversy or any kind of trouble.”
The Blue Jays organization issued a statement over Twitter on Tuesday.
“The Toronto Blue Jays is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one of the franchise’ greatest and most respected players, but even better human being,” the statement said. “It is impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city and its fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
The Phillies organization also issued a statement saying there club is “numb over the tragic news.”
“There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden.”
Prior to his death, Halladay posted several images on Twitter of his aircraft saying “real life is better than my dreams.”
The company, California-based ICON Aviation, behind the small plane involved in the crash said that they were saddened to learn of this tragedy in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“We have gotten to know Roy and his family in recent months, and he was a great advocate and friend of ours,” the statement said.
In May of this year, the chief designer of the plane, which is made for recreational pilots, and the company’s director of engineering died in one of them. The pair crashed in Lake Berryessa, California and federal investigators blamed the incident on pilot error.
Baseball players, Torontonians remember Halladay
Several current and former Blue Jays players have expressed their condolences about his death on Twitter.
RIP Roy 'DOC' Halladay— Aaron Sanchez (@A_Sanch41) November 7, 2017
One of the best to ever do it. I had a front row seat to watch his greatness. RIP Doc. to Brandy and the kids.— Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) November 7, 2017
Toronto Mayor John Tory expressed his condolences to the Halladay family while speaking to reporters at city hall Tuesday.
“I extend on behalf of all the people in Toronto and Blue Jays fan included our condolences to his wife Brandy and his two sons,” he said. “Roy Halladay was one of those players who gave us joy in years where there wasn’t much to be joyful about. We never produced a team for him that got to the playoffs.”
“He was voted by Blue Jays fans as the greatest starting pitcher we ever had. That’s the fans that said that.”
Tory added that he had a signed baseball from Halladay that he will “treasure forever.”
“It’s just a very sad way for his life to end.”
Speaking at city hall on Tuesday, Coun. Norm Kelly said he always thought of Halladay as a “future Hall of Famer.”
“He was a great pitcher, big guy, powerful pitcher and superb athletes involve the audience in two ways – one is their superb performance and secondly the wonderful memories that they leave for us,” he said.
An investigation into the crash is underway, police said.