Roy Halladay’s widow delivered an emotional speech Sunday at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, telling the crowd “we all struggle, but with hard work, humility and dedication, imperfect people can still have perfect moments.”
Roy Halladay died in November 2017 at age 40, after a small plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. One of the greatest pitchers of his era, Halladay was voted into the Hall of Fame in January, along with Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Harold Baines and Lee Smith.
The other five former players were on hand Sunday in Cooperstown, N.Y., to reflect on their journeys and thank those who helped them along the way. It was left to Brandy Halladay, though, to speak on behalf of her late husband, and the difficulty in doing so was evident from the moment she stepped up to the microphone after a video tribute was played.
“I knew I was going to cry at some point,” she said. “That video, I couldn’t watch it, so if somebody could send me a copy, I’d appreciate it.”
Over a 16-year career, the first 12 spent with the Toronto Blue Jays and the final four with the Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay was an eight-time all-star and a two-time Cy Young Award winner, once with each team. Halladay was also just the second pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs.
The no-hitter came in Halladay’s first postseason start, and it followed a perfect game thrown that same season, making him the only pitcher to accomplish that feat.
“He was a great coach, a nervous husband and father only because he so desperately wanted to be as great and successful at home as he was in baseball,” Brandy Halladay said Sunday. “I think that Roy would want everyone to know that people are not perfect. We are all imperfect and flawed in one way or another."
“Roy was blessed in his life and in his career to have some perfect moments,” she added, “but I believe they were only possible because of the man he strived to be, the teammate that he was and the people he was so blessed to be on the field with.”
In her comments at Cooperstown, Brandy Halladay described the support the family has received in recent months as “absolutely amazing.”
“I can’t tell you how many hugs I’ve gotten,” Brandy Halladay said. “All of your families, too, have extended so much love and friendship to myself and to my children. I’m so grateful.”
Brandy and Roy Halladay’s two sons were in attendance on Sunday — the elder of whom, Braden Halladay, was selected by the Blue Jays in last month’s MLB draft.
“This is not my speech to give,” Brandy Halladay told the audience. “I’m going to do the best I can to say the things I believe Roy might have said or would have wanted to say if he was here today. The thank yous could and should go on for days when you consider the impact so many people had on Roy’s career.”
Roy Halladay’s family decided not to have a logo on the hat he wears on his Hall of Fame plaque, but Brandy Halladay said her late husband “would want both organizations to know that they hold a huge place in our heart, and always will.”
“There’s no way to decide between the two teams, and I know we’ve spent the majority of our time in Toronto,” she had said in January. “Toronto gave us that chance, that base at the start, but Philly also gave us a chance to win and the passion that we wanted, and there’s no way to choose, and so we decided that he’ll go in with no team.”
Mussina, who spent the first 10 seasons of his 18-year MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles and the final 10 with the New York Yankees, made the same decision. Rivera wears a Yankees hat on his plaque, while Martinez’s represents the Seattle Mariners. Baines has a Chicago White Sox hat and Smith has a Chicago Cubs hat.
“Roy’s natural talent obviously was a huge part of this, but without all the unconditional continued support from every one of you, he never could have dedicated himself to being the best ballplayer he could be,” Brandy Halladay said. “I say it a lot, but it takes a village, and we truly have a great one.”
She said afterward (via USA Today) that the message she wanted to convey in her speech was that her husband was a “very normal person with a very exceptional, amazing job.”
“These men doing these outstanding things, they’re still real people,” Brandy Halladay said. “They still have feelings. They still have families. They still struggle."