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Roy Halladay, former Phillies pitcher, dies in plane crash

I don’t have the words.

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

There is no easy way to say this.

Roy Halladay, former Phillies and Blue Jays pitcher, was killed in a plane crash on Tuesday. He was 40. He leaves behind his wife, Brandy, and his two sons, Ryan and Braden.

The Phillies released a statement about Halladay’s death.

Okay. Deep breath. This is where you have to go through his career.

Halladay spent 16 years in the majors and played for just two teams: the Blue Jays and the Phillies. He spent 12 years in Toronto and after an early-career demotion, he remade himself into a fearsome pitcher — one of the best in the game — who prided himself on his routine, his dedication, and his preparation.

He came to the Phillies in a three-team trade before the 2010 season. The Phillies gave up Cliff Lee, their 2009 deadline acquisition, to get him. It was a little bit controversial, right up until the moment people started talking about Halladay’s routine during spring training, which was so incredible that Kyle Kendrick began trying to ape it. By the time he started pitching in actual games, he was beloved.

Halladay came to the Phillies to win a World Series, and one of the toughest things about his tenure was that he didn’t get it. But he did get a few other things. He threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, a game I remember like it was yesterday. And in the first postseason start of his 13-year career, he tossed a no-hitter against the Reds. The first one in the playoffs since Don Larsen in 1956. I can tell you exactly where I was for that one, too.

Halladay was an All-Star eight times. He won two Cy Young awards, and five times was in the top five. He was part of one of the most incredible pitching rotations baseball had ever seen.

Halladay’s last two years on the Phillies were beset by injuries. He looked and acted like his body, for so long a fine-tuned machine, was betraying him. His 2012 was dismal, but there was hope he could rebound in 2013. But he didn’t. He barely cleared 50 innings that year, and retired at the end of the season. I remember writing his retirement post.

Since he retired, Halladay had taken up flying, one of his great loves. He was also coaching Phillies pitching prospects in Florida, where he lived, and had coached his son’s baseball team to a championship this year. We were all just waiting for him to come back to the Phillies as their pitching coach.

Good. You gave all the relevant information. Now just end it and get out.

If only it were that easy.

I loved Roy Halladay. We all did. We are absolutely devastated. I’m just sitting here weeping. I can’t even imagine watching videos of him pitching right now. He was a brilliant, talented, disciplined, once-in-a-generation pitcher, and I feel lucky that he was on the Phillies and that I got to see him pitch. And he wasn’t just “on the Phillies.” He wanted to be on the Phillies. I’ll never forget the anecdote he shared with Sports Illustrated for his 2010 cover story: he couldn’t even watch the 2009 World Series because he was so upset that his midseason trade to the Phillies hadn’t gotten done.

This is unreal. I don’t even know how to end this post.

We’ll have more about Halladay in the coming days. Halladay was part of several all-time great Phillies teams, and he was beloved by many. We want to celebrate his memory. Because we’ll miss him — everything he was, and everything we’ll never get the chance to see.