PHILADELPHIA (AP) — On the same diamond where Roy Halladay pitched himself into baseball history and the hearts of Philadelphia fans, the Phillies retired the late Hall of Famer’s No. 34 jersey in a touching tribute Sunday.
Former teammates Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raúl Ibañez as well as pitching coach Rich Dubee and manager Charlie Manuel were among those in attendance for the ceremony at Citizens Bank Park before the Phillies defeated the New York Mets 3-0 for their eighth straight victory.
Halladay’s wife and two children were unable to attend due to COVID-19 protocols, Ibañez said. Halladay died in a plane crash at 40 years old on Nov. 7, 2017.
Halladay spent four of his 16 seasons in Philadelphia from 2010-2013. He was twice an All-Star with the Phillies and won the second of his two Cy Young Awards following the 2010 season when he went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA.
The right-hander tossed a perfect game at Miami on May 29, 2010, and threw the second no-hitter in postseason history that Oct. 6 against Cincinnati.
Ibañez spoke of how great of a teammate Halladay was, pointing out how the ace gave each member of the Phillies a watch following the perfect game that was inscribed: “We did it together.”
“He gave us a material gift,” Ibañez said, “but the true gift was being part of his team and part of his life.”
Ibañez recalled Halladay’s intensity, too.
“There was nothing like a Roy stare,” Ibanez told.
Ibañez spoke to the large crowd from a podium next to Halladay’s Hall of Fame plaque in front of the pitcher’s mound.
Halladay’s former catcher, Carlos Ruiz, unveiled a No. 34 statue along with Phillies owner John Middleton. After removing a red sheet, Ruiz kissed the statue and then touched his heart.
“It was special to be part of the ceremony, part of an incredible moment,” Ruiz said through an interpreter. “It’s an honor. He’s always present and has a very dear place in my heart.”
Former Phillies great and fellow Hall of Famer Steve Carlton pulled off the sheet to show Halladay’s retired Phillies No. 34 on a wall in center field at the ballpark. The No. 34 is right between Carlton’s No. 32 and the No. 36 of another Hall of Fame member, Robin Roberts.
Halladay’s number was the seventh retired for a Phillies player. Along with Carlton and Roberts, there is Mike Schmidt’s 20, Dick Allen’s 15, Richie Ashburn’s 1 and Jim Bunning’s 14.
Halladay was 55-29 with a 3.25 ERA in four seasons with the Phillies that halted in 2013 when right shoulder trouble ended his career.
“What separated (Halladay) was his work ethic, passion and dedication to his craft,” Ruiz said.
Overall, the eight-time All-Star won 203 games and struck out 2,117 in his career that began with 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.
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