Former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay killed as plane crashes in Gulf of Mexico

Former major league pitcher Roy Halladay died Tuesday when the small plane he was flying crashed in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco confirmed at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the two-time Cy Young winner was killed after the plane went down around noon near Holiday, Fla., which is just north of Clearwater and not far from Halladay’s home in Tarpon Springs

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

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star during his 16-year career with the Blue Jays and Phillies, repeatedly posted on social media about flying his ICON A5 aircraft. His Twitter cover photo is a picture of the plane, and his profile picture features him in the cockpit.

Halladay, 40, won the American League Cy Young award in 2003 and took NL honors in 2010, his first season with the Phillies. The man inevitably nicknamed “Doc” finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five other times in a career that saw him establish himself as one of the foremost rotation workhorses in the game. He compiled at least 220 innings in a season eight times.

Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, and followed it up with a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the teams’ NL division series that October. 

He retired at age 36 following the 2013 season due to nagging back problems but immediately took on a prominent role in his Gulf Coast community, coaching Little League and donating money to bolster the K9 program at the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.

Halladay’s death is reminiscent of the tragic fate of other baseball players who took up flying as a hobby.

In October 2006, a small plane piloted by Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashed into a New York apartment building, killing him and a flight instructor.

Another Yankee, Thurman Munson, died in a small plane crash in Canton, Ohio, in August 1979 as he practiced takeoffs and landings on a day off.

Cubs infielder Ken Hubbs, the 1962 NL Rookie of the Year, died in a February 1964 crash in Utah. He had earned his pilot’s license the previous month after deciding to take lessons in an effort to overcome his fear of flying.

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