As the baseball community tries to wrap its head around the plane crash that claimed the life of Roy Halladay on Tuesday, we’re left riding a roller coaster of emotions fueled by memories that have been shared by those closest to him.
Among those hit the hardest are obviously Halladay’s family. His wife and two teenage sons are dealing with an unimaginable loss. But we’ve also heard from countless former teammates who doubled as Halladay’s friends and in many cases as extended family.
We’ve learned from people like Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge, who made it clear just how much Halladay meant to them. We’ve also learned how much Halladay’s teammates meant to him throughout his career. According to Nelson Figueroa, a relief pitcher who made 13 appearances for the Phillies in 2010, at no time was that more evident than in the months following his perfect game against the Marlins.
On May 29, 2010, Halladay retired all 27 Marlins batters he faced. Not long after, his teammates, coaches, clubhouse attendants and even the batboys received watches commemorating Halladay’s accomplishment. In total, 60 watches were handed out, because Halladay wanted everyone to feel part of it.
Here’s a look at Figueroa’s watch.
When Roy threw his perfect game, he bought about 60 watches to commemorate the occasion each engraved and personalized. The case had a plaque that read "Couldn't have done it without you. Thanks" – Roy Halladay#FirstClass #LeadersLead #R.I.P.Doc pic.twitter.com/hoXNoAIFDX
— Nelson Figueroa Jr. (@FigSNY) November 8, 2017
Figueroa and Halladay were teammates for all of three and a half months. It didn’t matter. If a player, coach or employee was part of the Phillies on May 29, 2010, Halladay considered them a part of his perfect game.
Those types of selfless acts from Halladay have been reported over and over again. They extend well beyond the field too. Halladay didn’t use his talent or power to get what he wanted. He used it to bring his team closer and make those around him better.
That’s the mark of a leader.
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