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Major League Baseball (MLB)

Tributes pour in after baseball legend Roy Halladay dies in plane crash

Major League Baseball in mourning over former Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher who was an avid pilot

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 November, 2017, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 November, 2017, 9:28pm

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died on Tuesday after the plane he was piloting crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, triggering an outpouring of tributes to the popular ex-Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies star.

The 40-year-old two-time Cy Young winner, who retired four years ago, was the only person on board the single-engine ICON A5 plane, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

Halladay’s body was recovered after the plane was found in shallow water off the Florida coast, authorities said. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred said the sport was mourning the loss of a “well-respected figure and fierce competitor”.

“All of us in baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay,” Manfred said in a statement.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball I extend my deepest condolences to his family, including his wife, Brandy, and two sons, Ryan and Braden, his friends and countless fans.”

The Phillies issued a statement of condolence soon after news of the crash emerged.

“We are numb over the very news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death,” the Phillies said.

“There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game.”

Halladay played for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia in a 16-year career which included a perfect game in 2010 and a no-hitter in the play-offs the same year.

He was selected for the All-Star team on eight occasions but never managed to win a World Series.

Tributes to Halladay also came from former team-mates and stars from across baseball.

Former Blue Jays centre fielder Vernon Wells described Halladay as an all-time great.

“I had a front-row seat to watch his greatness. RIP Doc,” Wells wrote on Twitter, referring to Halladay by his affectionate nickname.

Former Phillies infielder Michael Young added: “Devastating. One of my favourite teammates ever. The blueprint for what a competitor looks like. RIP Roy Halladay. Heartbroken for his family.”

The Houston Astros 2017 World Series-winning pitcher Dallas Keuchel said: “Rest In Peace Doc Halladay. One of the best to ever do it. You will be missed.”

Astros teammate Justin Verlander said: “Shocked and saddened … gone way too soon. One of the best ever.”

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brandon McCarthy said Halladay was widely revered among his fellow professionals.

“Roy Halladay was your favourite player’s favourite player,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

“A true ace and a wonderful person. Heartbroken for those who knew him best.”

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco meanwhile said Halladay was a passionate aviator. In an interview last March, Halladay had revealed he had logged around 800 hours of flying time.

“I know there are people in his family that fly,” Nocco told a news conference.

“That’s where he got it from. He loved to fly. He talked about flying. He talked about refurbishing planes. He grew up doing it.

“He talked about baseball and they talked about flying.”