After nearly a day to process, thousands of beautiful words have already been written for Roy Halladay — the Phillies and Blue Jays ace pitcher who shockingly died in a plane crash Tuesday.
In the wake of a devestating loss, one thought kept swirling around in my mind — how great he was.
I realized that greatness can’t be quantified. What recently fallen heros Tom Petty, Fats Domino and even the passing of my own beloved grandmother have proven to me is that there is no predicting how large a void will be left when a person departs this earth until they actually do.
Nearly every MLB player, Philly sports personality and others took to twitter to mourn the loss of Halladay and I am left saddened to think about all he gave to the city of Philadelphia.
My fondest Halladay memories weren’t in the stands at a game, in the locker room as a reporter or even as a spectator on television during his 2010 Cy Young season. It was how his contributions to Philadelphia transcended sports. In the winter he was acquired via trade, I rememeber being absolutely overcome with excitement — that months after back-to-back World Series visits the Phillies were looking to keep it going by bringing in who most agree was the best pitcher of the era.
When Doc pitched his perfect game, I was at the beach in Georgia on vacation, a recent college graduate driving south because — well, I had no job so why not? I had almost no service following along on my phone and I walked up and down Tybee Island looking for a bar with the game on. Of course, a regular season Marlins Phillies game was no where to be found down there so I watched SportsCenter on my hotel television over and over again for hours just to see the celebration after the last out.
His second no-hitter, the one against the Reds in his first ever playoff game, came days before election day 2010 and I was stuck in my office working late. I remember watching the game in the conference room at work and wanting to run through the empty streets of Harrisburg screaming just as I did when Brad Lidge got the 27th out on October 29, 2008.
Halladay was always there, even when he wasn’t right in front of us. We knew he would be a Hall of Famer. We knew after his kids were in college he’d probably return to baseball and be an incredible coach, scout or commentator.
There is some solace in knowing he died doing what he loved — flying, his post-baseball obsession. But that does little to help.
He’s not there anymore, and that’s what hurts. We’ll miss you Doc.