Memorial service will celebrate the life of former star Jays pitcher Halladay

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

There's no way to ease the anguish caused by death's grim finality, or to make the loss hurt less.

A celebration of life is being held for Roy Halladay at Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, on Tuesday. In the last minute, she looked at her boys. "It was in between pitches, and I didn't know him yet".

Over and over, the speakers demonstrated how Halladay's many accomplishments on the baseball field paled in comparison to the lasting impact he made on so many different lives. The eight-time All-Star who pitched a flawless game and a playoff no-hitter, Halladay played for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1998-2009 and for the Phillies from 2009-13, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.

Numerous people connected with the Phillies' organization, including former players, attended the service: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Charlie Manuel, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Pat Gillick, Ruben Amaro Jr., John Middleton, David Montgomery, Matt Klentak, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero, Placido Polanco, Ben Francisco, Rich Dubee, Juan Pierre, Brian Schneider, Ben Revere, Juan Samuel, Scott Proefrock, Sam Perlozzo, Danys Baez, Laynce Nix and Bill Giles.

For Chris Carpenter, it started when they were minor-leaguers in the Jays system, fishing late nights near the Dunedin spring camp and dreaming of the day as big-leaguers when they could simply toss their uniforms in a bin to get washed. Poulis closed his remembrance with one last send-off. About fathers and sons and baseball.

“He was awe-striking. He was handsome inside and out, ” Halladays wife Brandy said through tears as she addressed the large gathering.

As Aaron Hill, one of several former Blue Jays teammates in attendance, put it afterwards, "It was so nice to hear some of the words today and what he meant to so many people".

"I've got bad news, and I know you're going to feel real bad", Kligman said. "He also said, 'I'm looking forward to our fishing trip in Brazil'". I don't know.' He was too scared to talk about it. They placed a single baseball there.

There's a theory that should surprise no one surrounding the circumstances of Roy Halladay's death, after attempting to perform aerial manoeuvres in a small two-seater plane out over the Gulf of Mexico and crashing. "I will miss you from the bottom of my heart". Everyone got a good laugh, but the prank was just beginning, as when the players returned to the clubhouse, a full wedding reception had been set up by a professional catering company in the dining room to celebrate. He said it really hit him later that night. "We had fun with him".

Brandy Halladay urged the mourners to take nothing for granted and to hug their family members tightly. "I saw everyday what it took to be a man among boys", Utley said. "I was like, 'Man, I'm just a little black guy from the South, I need my fried chicken'". He's staring me down.

Hudson's ribbing of Halladay didn't stop at dining decisions.

"He texted me after the game while I was still on the bus", Carpenter said, his voice quavering. "I jumped in, and before I even hit the water I was already doggy-paddling in the air trying to get back out". They brought energy, they pitched the way the game of baseball is supposed to be pitched, man. So I said, ‘Hey, Roy, was it raining when you walked in this morning? That's my boy, man. "I got in, and she kind of like kicked me over. I'm thankful for him, that's how I got my first Gold Glove, he got me my first Gold Glove".

"Doc, have a good one", he said. When I was done working on him I would say, ‘Doc, have a good one before he left the training room to warm up, ” said Poulis, adding that Halladay wouldnt head to the field unless Poulis said the words. "As a baseball player, as an athlete in general, you physically prepare for everything. He's that great of a person".

"He's always going to be in my heart, Ruiz said". "Whether it was recruiting (A.J.) Burnett, (B.J.) Ryan when we had a little bit of money to work with and we could go after some guys, 'Hey Doc would you mind flying in?' No problem, he flies in to Toronto, helps meet the guys, helps talk to the guys". That's why he was so special, not only in Toronto, but then they got to see it in Philadelphia, too. "I went home, walked in the back door and told my mother that I met the man I was going to marry that day".

“I called him to congratulate him and he said, ‘How many years has it been Bob?” said Engle, stopping to compose himself as the tears started to flow. And we talked. You always knew he had your back.