HOLIDAY, Fla. - Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies, died Tuesday when his private plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference that Halladay's ICON A5 went down around noon off the coast of Florida. The sheriff's office marine unit responded and found Halladay's body in shallow water near some mangroves. No survivors were found.
Police said they couldn't confirm if there were additional passengers on the plane or say where it was headed. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Halladay, who retired after the 2013 season, was an amateur pilot who often posted on social media about small planes .
“I have dreamed about owning a A5 since I retired! Real life is better then my dreams!!” Halladay tweeted on Oct. 13.
Icon aircraft had posted a video with Halladay trying out a new plane. The video showed Halladay taking delivery of a new Icon A5, a two-seat “light-sport aircraft” that can land on water.
In the video, Halladay said the terms of his baseball contract prevented him from having a pilot's license while playing, and that his wife was originally against the idea of him getting the aircraft.
“She's fought me the whole way,” Halladay said.
“Hard. I fought hard. I was very against it,” Brandy Halladay said in the same video, before explaining why she eventually understood and approved of her husband's desire to have the plane.
The A5 was a newer model from Icon, based in Vacaville, California . On May 8, two Icon employees, the company's lead test pilot and the director of engineering, were killed in a crash in an A5 in Napa County, California. The NTSB report said the probable cause was “the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while manoeuvring at a low altitude.”
Halladay spent 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays followed by four seasons with the Phillies. He was 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.
By the numbers: a look at Halladay's career
1 - The only save of Halladay's career came on April 7, 1999, when he pitched the final three innings in a 9-3 win over the host Minnesota Twins.
2 - Halladay is one of just two pitchers to throw a no-hitter in the post-season, and the only one to do it in the National League.
2 - Number of times Halladay won the Cy Young award as his league's top pitcher. He won the American League award with Toronto in 2003 and the National League award with Philadelphia in 2010, leading the majors in wins both times.
5 - Number of seasons in which Halladay eclipsed the 200-strikeout mark.
6 - The number of all-star appearances Halladay made. Four were with the Blue Jays, two with the Phillies.
20 - Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history as a member of the Phillies on May 29, 2010.
67 - Number of times Halladay went the distance in a complete game.
203-105 - Halladay's all-time regular-season record.
1998 - The year Halladay broke into the league. He picked up his first career win on the final game of the season, coming within one out of a no-hitter in just his second career start. He became the face of the franchise On Dec. 15, 2009, Halladay was dealt to Philadelphia for minor league prospects Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, and Michael Taylor.
2013 - Halladay signed a one-day contract with Toronto on Dec. 9, 2013, to retire as a Blue Jay.
2,117 - The total number of batters Halladay fanned over his career.
“We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay's untimely death,” the Phillies said in a statement. “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.”
Other baseball players to die in plane crashes included Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente in a relief mission from Puerto Rico travelling to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year's Eve in 1972; New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson piloting his own plane near his home in Canton, Ohio, in 1979; and Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle piloting his own plane in New York City in 2006.
Halladay was nominated several times for the Roberto Clemente Award, given by Major League Baseball to players for sportsmanship and community involvement. The Halladay Family Foundation has aided children's charities, hunger relief and animal rescue.
“Many of you know Roy as a Cy Young winner, future Hall of Famer, one of the best pitchers ever to pitch the game of baseball,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, who personally knew Halladay.
“We know Roy as a person, as a caring husband who loved his wife, Brandy. He loved his two boys tremendously ... and we are so sad for your loss.”
Nocco said Halladay knew many members in the sheriff's office, and that Halladay was even a part of a charity fishing tournament last Friday.
“He was probably one of the most humble human beings you'll ever meet,” Nocco said. “For somebody who won two Cy Youngs, one of the greatest pitchers in baseball, he would walk in the room as if he was anybody. Didn't matter who he met, he was kind, generous. His family purchased a dog for us - K-9 Doc. K-9 Doc is out there working, saving lives, making our community safer.”
The dog was named as a nod to Halladay's nickname - Doc.
“He was one in a million,” Nocco said. “It is a true loss for us.”
Halladay was an old-style workhorse who pitched 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. A three-time 20-game winner, he was an eight-time All-Star with Toronto (1998-2009) and Philadelphia (2010-13).
Halladay pitched a perfect game for the Phillies at the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. That Oct. 6, against Cincinnati in the NL Division Series, he became only the second pitcher to throw a post-season no-hitter, joining Don Larsen, who accomplished the feat for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series.
The right-hander retired after the 2013 season, saying he wanted to avoid back surgery.
“As a baseball player, you realize that's something you can't do the rest of your life,” Halladay said. “I really don't have any regrets. You realize there's other things for you to accomplish in life.”
He was eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.
“Heart is broken to hear about Roy Halladay,” former teammate Roy Oswalt tweeted. “great friend, teammate, father and husband. One of the best teammates ever! You will be missed !”
Former pitcher Dan Haren tweeted that “I wanted to be Roy Halladay. I'm heartbroken, rest easy Doc ,” then posted a photo of a signed Halladay jersey .
Pro athletes react to Halladay's death
Fellow baseball players and other professional athletes quickly took to social media to express their grief and share their condolences.
“Heart is broken to hear about Roy Halladay, great friend, teammate, father and husband. One of the best teammates ever! You will be missed!” - Retired Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Oswalt, who played two seasons with Halladay in Philadelphia
“We were together in this journey as Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers, now you are gone. RIP Roy Halladay.” - Retired Major League Baseball outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame with Halladay on June 24
“Oh my god man. Day ruined. Wow. Prayers with the entire Halladay family. This is awful!” - Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, who also tweeted #RIPDocHalladay
“RIP Roy 'DOC' Halladay” - Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez
“That's sad. He was huge here in Toronto over the years. I used to keep up with him all the time, watch him pitch. A great pitcher ... I just know how much he meant to the city, just inducted to the Canadian (Baseball) Hall of Fame. It's just way too soon,” Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.
“In shock over the terrible news about Roy Halladay... a pitcher I grew up admiring & rooting for. Praying for his family & friends. #RIPDoc” - Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout
“Rest In Peace Roy Halladay, you will never be forgotten. Your legacy will Live on! #Legend #RIPRoyHalladay” - Retired National Hockey League forward Jeremy Roenick
“Growing up watching #32 take the mound every 5 days for the â†•BlueJays was a pleasure. He was an athlete I idolized. RIP Doc” - San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture
“RIP Roy Halladay.. a Toronto legend! Growing up I used to love watching Doc play, sad day for Toronto sports fans” - Cleveland Cavaliers forward and Toronto native Tristan Thompson
“RIP to Roy Halladay. When I played baseball, I always wanted to pitch like 'Doc'.” - Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns
“Very sad to hear of the passing of Roy Halladay. My favourite pitcher growing up watching the jays. Thoughts and prayers with his family. RIP” - Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton