Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy “Doc” Halladay was identified as the person who died in a plane crash over the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office announced at a press conference regarding the crash that Halladay was the victim and expressed its condolences to his family.
Halladay, 40, was one of the most successful pitchers in the modern era with a career that stretched 16 years and saw him play for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s survived by his two children and wife, Brandy.
Halladay threw two no-hitters in his career and will be remembered for his continued philanthropy. After he announced his retirement in 2013, he obtained his pilot’s license and started flying planes while also coaching his children’s baseball teams.
Here’s what you need to know about Halladay and his tragic death:
1. Halladay’s Plane Was Identified by Media Reports
Reports surfaced on social media during the afternoon that there was a plane crash over the Gulf of Mexico. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene of the downed plan in the Gulf, and stated the plane was a “small, personal plane.” They initially didn’t confirm the identity of those on board or the owner of the plane, but said “one body was located” and the recovery team executed a search of the plane and around it.
Multiple media outlets tracked the tag number of the plane and determined it was owned by Halladay.
The sheriff’s department identified him as the victim at a later press conference, saying he spent a lot of time with the law enforcement officials during his retirement from baseball.
2. He Became an Aviation Enthusiast After his Retirement From Baseball
Halladay retired from the MLB in 2013 and took up aviation and boating as hobbies. He said that his father was a corporate pilot and he grew up around airplanes, which inspired him to start flying.
“In the air or on the water!” his Twitter bio read, with a photo of him piloting an aircraft as his profile picture.
Many of his social media posts involved him flying with friends and family members, and one in particular, posted October 31, showed him standing in front of the plane that crashed into the Gulf.
An October 12 press release by ICON Aircraft said that it delivered the first Model Year 2018 (MY18) A5 to Halladay, who’s been a “regular ICON A5 renter” for years. That was the plane which ended up crashing into the Gulf, law enforcement officials said.
“I’ve been dreaming about flying since I was a boy but was only able to become a pilot once I retired from baseball,” Halladay said in the release. “I’ve owned other aircraft, but no aircraft embodies the adventure or captured the dream of flying like the A5. Not only is it the safest and easiest aircraft I’ve ever flown, it is hands-down the most fun. The beaches, lakes, and waterways my family and I get to explore around Florida are mind-blowing. Words don’t do justice to what the A5 allows us to experience. Even my wife, who used to be uncomfortable in small planes, now asks where we should take the A5 for the weekend. I’m honored to own the first A5 Founders Edition.”
Also after his retirement, Halladay coached his son’s youth baseball teams to multiple championships, social media posts indicate.
3. Halladay Is Survived by His 2 Children & Wife
Halladay lived in Tarpon Springs, Florida following his retirement, where he resided with his wife Brandy and their two sons: Ryan and Braden.
Brandy and Roy lived in the same city in Colorado growing up, first meeting as family friends as children. After Brandy’s family moved in high school, their families lost touch, but they met once again when she moved back with her family to Colorado in 1996.
They started a romantic relationship and got married in November 1998. According to PlayerWives.com, both Roy and Brandy’s families were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Upon his retirement announcement, Halladay said that wife and children were what helped him to his success over the years.
“They’ve been my biggest supporters, they really have, so thank you, guys,” he said at a press conference.
Immediately after his retirement announcement, Halladay said he was going to be fully invested in his sons’ baseball careers.
“They’re starting to strive for their dreams, and that’s something I want to be a part of,” he added at the press conference.
4. He Pitched the 2nd No-Hitter in MLB Postseason History
Halladay fell short of winning a World Series title in his career, but will be remembered as one of the best pitchers of this generation. He was expected to be in the conversation to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, for his success next year.
In his professional career, he amassed a 203-105 record with a 3.38 ERA. During an 11-year stretch (from 2001-11), he was considered one of the best pitchers in the league, going 175-78 with a 2.98 ERA. Halladay won the American League Cy Young Award in 2003 and also National League Cy Young Award in 2010 when he played for the Phillies.
Arguably the greatest moment of his career came in his first-ever postseason start as a member of the Phillies. He was facing the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NL Divisional Series and left many in awe with his dominant no-hitter.
It was the second no-hitter in postseason history (Don Larsen had a perfect game in the 1956 World Series) at the time and was his second of the season.
He also pitched a perfect game for the Phillies at the start of the season.
The successful outing in the postseason made him the fifth pitcher in MLB history to throw multiple no-hitters in the same season. His dominance continued into the final years of his career, when he became the 67th pitcher in MLB history to achieve 2,000 strikeouts in a career.
Halladay earned the nickname “Doc” for his throwing power. Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek coined the nickname in reference to Wild West gunslinger “Doc” Holliday.
5. He Was a Philanthropist & Always Tried to Give Back to the Community
Numerous times throughout his career with the Blue Jays, Halladay was the nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his work with underprivileged children. The award recognizes players who “best exemplify the game of baseball, sportsmanship, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”
Clemente notably died in a plane crash in 1972 when he was on board and aircraft that was traveling to Nicaragua with relief supplies for earthquake victims.
“Honestly, I don’t think there’s a lot of people who can be put in the same breath as Clemente,” Halladay said in an MLB.com story. “That’s a lot to live up to — the way that guy lived his life and what he did for people. More than anything, it’s important that they’re recognizing that in baseball.”
While playing for the Blue Jays, Halladay and his wife invited children from the Hospital for Sick Children and their families into what became known as “Doc’s Box” at Toronto’s home stadium.
As a member of the Phillies, Halladay and his family continued their charitable work. In 2013, the Phillies, along with his charity, the “Halladay Family Foundation,” announced the formation of the Phans Feeding Families program.
Halladay’s charity later became known as “The Isaac Foundation,” which sought to “provide support and advocacy for patients and families coping with rare diseases.”
The foundation had a gala planned November 11, four days prior to Halladay’s death.