Plane Crash Claims The Life of Former Baseball Star

07 Nov, 2017

Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher who retired from baseball nearly four years ago, has died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference that Halladay’s ICON A5, a small single-engine aircraft, went down around noon Tuesday 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.

Nocco said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash.

“All of us at Baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “A well-respected figure throughout the game, Roy was a fierce competitor during his 16-year career, which included eight All-Star selections, two Cy Young Awards, a perfect game and a Postseason no-hitter.

“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, as well as the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations.”

Halladay received his pilot’s license several years ago and tweeted photos last month of himself standing next to a new ICON A5 as part of the plane’s marketing campaign.

In a story posted last month on ICON’s website to promote the A5, Halladay said he had “been dreaming about flying since I was a boy but was only able to become a pilot once I retired from baseball.” In a video posted on ICON’s website, 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.

“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.

Halladay’s father was a corporate pilot.

The A5 was a newer model from ICON, based in Vacaville, California. It’s a two-seat “light-sport aircraft” that can land on water.

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 maneuvering at a low altitude.”

“We were devastated to learn that former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay died today in an accident involving an ICON A5 in the Gulf of Mexico,” the company said in a statement. “We have gotten to know Roy and his family in recent months, and he was a great advocate and friend of ours. The entire ICON community would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Roy’s family and friends. ICON will do everything it can to support the accident investigation going forward and we will comment further when more information is available.”

Nocco said Tuesday that Halladay was a “personal friend of our sheriff’s office” and that it is a “sad day for us here in Pasco County.”

“Being a pilot, flying planes, that was his passion,” Nocco said. “He would talk about it, about refurbishing planes.”

Halladay was an eight-time All-Star and went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA in his 16-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. He threw a perfect game with the Phillies during the 2010 season, and on Oct. 6 of that year, against Cincinnati in the NL Division Series, he became only the second pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter, joining Don Larsen, who accomplished the feat for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series.

“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. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden.”

Halladay signed a one-day contract with Toronto in December 2013 so he could retire as a member of the Blue Jays, the team with which he spent the first 12 years of his career.

“The Toronto Blue Jays organization is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one of the franchise’s greatest and most respected players, but even better human being,” the team said in a statement. “It is impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city and its fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Halladay won the 2003 AL Cy Young Award and went 148-76 with a 3.43 ERA in 12 seasons with the Blue Jays. He was traded to the Phillies after the 2009 season and won the NL Cy Young in 2010.

He is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.


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