St. Louis Cardinals: Remembering the great Roy Halladay

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 4: Former player Roy Halladay
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 4: Former player Roy Halladay /

Former Blue Jay and Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay passed away today at the age of 40 when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. A good friend of St. Louis Cardinals legend Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals and the rest of the MLB have lost a special man in Roy Halladay.

When I first saw the news about Roy Doc Halladay, the first thing I, and most St. Louis Cardinals fans I can imagine, came to think about after the initial shock was the incredible NLDS game 5 duel he had with his former teammate and longtime friend in Chris Carpenter. Hopes were high for the Phillies following a 102-win series, but the 90-win Wild Card Cardinals showed they weren’t about to go away.

Following a game one drubbing, the next three games were decided by a total of four runs, as both teams grinded against each other, with the desire to win as their only drive. That set the stage for a series deciding duel between the NL Cy Young of the daunting Phillies against the fan-favorite bulldog of the Cardinals. And boy, did they deliver.

From the get-go, it was a duel for the ages. After one poor at-bat for Doc resulted in a triple for Rafael Furcal and Skip Schumaker fought off a slew of good pitches for a 10-pitch RBI double, Halladay settled in and shut the St. Louis Cardinals down.

It was like watching a painter turning a canvas into a landscape. Each stroke of the brush, unwasted. Every action turned the blue paint into a deep sky or turning rectangles into rivers, or sticks and lines into trees. With an assortment of biting cutters, plummeting curveballs, and slippery sinkers, Halladay abused the corners and edges of the plate with reckless abandon and mechanical precision, painting a spectacular game. It was truly a sight to watch.

More from Redbird Rants

It was only matched by Carpenter that night, who matched his close friend pitch for pitch, in a classic etched in baseball lore for all time. Many who watched it believe it was the greatest pitched game they have ever seen.

But there was more to Doc Halladay than his baseball talent, two Cy Young Awards, eight All-Stars, a no-hitter in the postseason, and all the other athletic accolades one could imagine.

Down to his core, he was a caring man who was beloved by those who knew him. A loving husband and father of two, it was only fitting that his final post to social media was an expression of pride in his son.

Losing a good ballplayer is tough in itself, but losing someone so embedded in the community is devastating. Most fans who are truly passionate get emotionally invested to the great talent that plays for them, being enamored and appreciative to witness such an incredible skill set while helping lead the team you love to succeed. Even for players who aren’t on your team, the beef, rivalries, and squabbles don’t matter. When it comes down to it, the league and its fans are family.

I am not ashamed to say that I shed tears when Oscar Taveras died, just as I did when Jose Fernandez passed, and today after learning of Halladay’s passing. For someone like Halladay who many people grew up watching and some saw as a role model, the pain of loss feels so real. There is nothing that can redeem the tragedy that has taken such a special person from us. All we can do now is remember the person he was.

He was the Blue Jays’ Roberto Clemente Award nominee numerous times and would donate tickets to sick children and their families, a program that he initiated called “Doc’s Box”. He even had a yearly provision in his Blue Jays contract that would donate $100,000 a year to the Jays Care Foundation.

Everyone should aspire to be someone like Roy Halladay, someone who can inspire and excite in the public end and nurture, care, and show devotion to family, friends, and the community around him. He will truly be missed.

Next: Cardinals grant Trevor Rosenthal unconditional release

Halladay is survived by his wife, Brandy, and their two children, who I send my deepest condolences to at this time.