Opinion: Roy Halladay will be remembered as one of baseball’s best

Jack+Kopanski

Jack Kopanski

Jack Kopanski

Eight All-Star Game appearances, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and the author of both a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter.

This is the stat line of Roy Halladay, one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball between 2002 and 2011, spending time with both Toronto and Philadelphia.

Halladay was found dead Tuesday after his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite never being a fan of either the Phillies or the Blue Jays, I was glued to Twitter for the hour between the initial announcement of the crash, with one confirmed dead, and the eventual announcement that Halladay was the lone passenger and casualty.

At the far too young age of 40, Halladay died like he lived: without fear. His Twitter bio expressed: “Courage is not being fearless but rather acting in spite of the existence of fear!”

His Twitter was also filled of pictures both of and inside the planes he owned and piloted. When tweeting about being the first to receive the Icon A5, the plane he was flying at the time of his death, his excitement was palpable.

That excitement was something Halladay brought to the mound every time he took the field. After a rocky start to his career, he propelled himself to stardom with the Blue Jays, winning his first Cy Young in Toronto. As a follow-up, he became a member of one of the most dominant rotations in the league in Philadelphia, joining Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels while they were in the prime of their careers.

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of his career came in the 2010 season with the Phillies. In May, Halladay threw what was, at the time, only the 20th perfect game in MLB history. Not to be outdone, he tossed a no-hitter in the Phillies’ first game of the postseason. He became only the seventh pitcher to throw both a perfect game and a no-no in the same season.

That same postseason, Halladay helped lead the Phillies to the National League Championship Series, where they eventually fell in six games. One of the few accolades that evaded Halladay throughout his career was a World Series championship.

While his stats from the mound were impressive enough to warrant Hall of Fame discussions, Halladay was one of the players that could be regarded around the league as an all-around good guy.

Leaving behind a wife, two children and a legacy that will not be forgotten, Halladay was a model for what the perfect baseball player should be.

Though he was no Kershaw or Bumgarner, Halladay’s spot in Cooperstown is all but reserved.

Jack Kopanski is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]