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The Journal Gazette

  • Halladay 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 1:00 am

Ex-pitcher Halladay killed in plane crash

Cy Young winner's new aircraft plunges into Gulf off Florida

Associated Press

HOLIDAY, Fla – Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies, died Tuesday when his private plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference that Halladay's ICON A5 went down about noon off the coast of Florida. The sheriff's office marine unit responded and discovered Halladay's body in shallow water near some mangroves. No survivors were found.

Police said they couldn't confirm if there were additional passengers on the plane or say where it was headed. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Halladay, who retired after the 2013 season, was an amateur pilot who often posted on social media about small planes. His father was a corporate pilot.

“I have dreamed about owning a A5 since I retired! Real life is better then my dreams!!” Halladay tweeted on Oct. 13.

ICON aircraft had posted a video with Halladay trying out a new plane. The video showed Halladay taking delivery of a new ICON A5, a two-seat “light-sport aircraft” that can land on water.

In the video, Halladay said the terms of his baseball contract prevented him from having a pilot's license while playing, and that his wife was originally against the idea of him getting the aircraft.

“She's fought me the whole way,” Halladay said.

“Hard. I fought hard. I was very against it,” Brandy Halladay said in the same video, before explaining why she eventually understood and approved of her husband's desire to have the plane. The couple have two sons, Ryan and Braden.

Halladay spent 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays followed by four seasons with the Phillies. He was 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA and an eight-time All-Star.

“Such a sad day,” former Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard tweeted. “We lost a great ball player but an even better human being.”

Other baseball players to die in plane crashes included Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente in a relief mission from Puerto Rico traveling to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year's Eve in 1972; New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson piloting his own plane near Canton, Ohio, in 1979; and Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle piloting his own plane in New York City in 2006.

Halladay was nominated several times for the Roberto Clemente Award, given by Major League Baseball to players for sportsmanship and community involvement. The Halladay Family Foundation has aided children's charities, hunger relief and animal rescue.

A 6-foot-6 right-hander, Halladay was a throwback on the mound. Durable and determined to finish what he started, Halladay won the AL Cy Young in 2003 after going 22-7 and the NL prize in 2010 after going 21-10.

“You know, if my career's two years, three years shorter than it could have been because I wanted to go out and pitch deep into games, I'm fine with that,” he said in a retirement news conference.

Halladay was an old-style workhorse who pitched 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. A three-time 20-game winner, he was with Toronto (1998-2009) and Philadelphia (2010-13).

Halladay pitched a perfect game for the Phillies at the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. That Oct. 6, against Cincinnati in the NL Division Series, he became only the second pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter, joining Don Larsen, who accomplished the feat for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series.

He is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.

“Absolutely I would love to be there,” he said during spring training this year, when he was a guest instructor for the Phillies.

In a statement, the Blue Jays said the organization “is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one the franchise's greatest and most respected players, but even better human being.”