Eight-Time All-Star Roy Halladay Dies in Plane Crash

by Rocco Constantino | Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
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PHILADELPHIA – OCTOBER 06: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Carlos Ruiz #51 after throwing a no hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on October 6, 2010 during Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Reds 4-0. (Photo by: Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)

Former Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays  All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay was killed in a single-engine plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday.  The news was confirmed by CBSSports.com after police confirmed Halladay’s identity.  News of a plane crash involving an Icon A-5 two-passenger plane registered to Halladay’s father broke Tuesday afternoon and a 4:30 PM press conference followed with details. He was 40 years old.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred around 1:00 PM about 10 miles off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida.  Halladay’s family had a background in flying, as his father had worked as a corporate pilot.

Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and the author of a perfect game and postseason no-hitter, has posted pictures and videos of himself on Twitter piloting planes.

Halladay pitched for 16 seasons in the majors and was among the most dominant pitchers of his generation.  He finished with a career record of 203-105 and a 3.38 ERA.  He topped 20 wins three times and complete games seven times.  In addition to winning the Cy Young Award in 2003 and 2010, Halladay also finished in the top five of Cy Young voting five other times and had two Top-10 MVP finishes.

In addition, Halladay was known as one of the game’s great humanitarians and was nominated multiple times as the Blue Jays candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseballsportsmanshipcommunity involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Halladay was the 27th overall pick in the 1995 Major League Baseball draft and made his debut just three years later as a September callup.  In his second Major League start, Halladay, just 21 years old at the time, took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers.  It was broken up with two outs in the ninth inning on a first-pitch home run by Bobby Higginson.  

Despite his early success, Halladay did not become a stalwart in the Blue Jays pitching rotation until 2002 when he topped 30 starts for the first time.  That season, Halladay made 34 starts and led the league with 239.1 innings pitched.  He won his first Cy Young Award the next season and began a decade of dominance that saw him go 170-75 with a 2.97 ERA.  He is ranked ninth all-time in Cy Young Award win shares, ahead of Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Gaylord Perry and Warren Spahn among others.

In a statement, the Phillies reflected on the tragic loss.

“We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death,” the Phillies said via a statement. “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.”

Halladay received his pilot’s license just seven months after retiring from baseball in 2013. Halladay is survived by his wife Brandy ans his sons Braden and Ryan.

He joins a tragic list of former Major Leaguers who have died in plane crashes, including Roberto Clemente, Thurman Munson, Ken Hubbs and Cory Lidle.  Halladay was in the same rotation as Lidle with the 2003 Blue Jays.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is likely to take place soon.  At the press conference regarding the accident, a police spokesman said there were no mayday calls in relation to the accident.

The sports world understandably reacted with shock and sadness to the news of Halladay’s passing.

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Rocco Constantino
About the Author

Rocco is the author of 50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball (Available on Amazon now!) and former Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He is also a die hard Mets fan going back to the awful early 80's and ready for the revival. D2 NCAA softball coach and athletics administrator. Follow Rocco on Twitter @mlb100years.

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