Tragedy: Why Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay Meant So Much To Philadelphia

The city of Philadelphia sits in a state of numbness after the tragic news that took place on Tuesday afternoon. Roy Halladay, at the age of 40, was killed in a plane crash off the Florida coast.

Words cannot describe the hole this leaves in the heart of the city and baseball in general. But we will try to put some sentences together between the flashes of sadness and maybe some tears.

Time is a precious gift. More precious than any money or gold on the face of the earth, because once you use time you can’t get it back. That is why this news is unbearably tragic. To most, 40 years old is the half-way point. Stop you take before you enter the ‘back nine’ of life.

Death is an inevitable part of this life. We don’t embrace it when we are young…or even think about it for that matter. But we know it’s there. On Tuesday it swooped in and took Halladay like a thief in the night. No warning or signal to prepare us.

Halladay wasn’t supposed to be taken away from us this quickly. Yet in the blink of an eye, he’s vanished.

The feeling of hearing and seeing the news numbs your whole body as you scroll through the headlines on your phone. Minutes drag on as you read the news feed you use, all the while trying to convince yourself that this is a cruel and unusual prank.

But the punchline never shows up. Just utter sadness continues to cast a shadow.

Philadelphia has embraced few heroes in its rich sports history. It’s tough to be loved in the City of Brotherly Love…go figure right? It’s because Philadelphia fans hold their heroes to the highest of standards. And to abide by a few rules.

  1. Play like it’s your last game on this earth
  2. Play at a high level (this one is the most challenging)
  3. Own up to your shortcomings (something most athletes hate to do)

Halladay embodied all three.

In his brief four-year stay with Philadelphia, Doc amassed 55 wins (29 losses), a 3.25 ERA, one perfect game, one post-season no-hitter, a Cy Young award, and two All-Star games.

Athletes these days are so pampered and worried about their current contract situations. Halladay didn’t give a crap about that mumbo jumbo. As soon as he stepped on the mound, it was like he entered another world where the only two people that existed were himself and the catcher. It is a sign of a true competitor to ignore the forces of the outside world.

The man simply outworked his opponents physically and mentally, as an elite competitor would. He studied film to perfect the five pitches he threw and trained himself so he could go nine innings everytime he stepped on the mound.

It is unusual for Philadelphia to love an athlete so dearly as they did with Roy Halladay. That love is a testament to not only his play on the field but his character off of it. Halladay was a loving father to his two boys Ryan and Braden and a devoted husband to his wife Brandy.

Philadelphia and those around baseball cherished Halladay. Which is why his passing contains so much sorrow and grief.