Roy Halladay remembered: Memorial today in Florida

Credit CBS3

The best we can do is find ways to cope amid the sorrow, to seek outlets for the grief. Ruiz choked up as he recalled the story Tuesday evening at Spectrum Field, where Halladay's family and friends had a "Celebration of Life" service for the former Phillies and Blue Jays ace.

Utley was one of nine people to offer remembrances of Halladay. His wife Brandy's words, forced through tears throughout her 18 minutes on the dais by the mound at the Philadelphia Phillies' spring home, were especially powerful as she recounted their meeting, their courtship, their marriage and their life.

“We had him in front of us for too short a period of time, a great human being before an outstanding baseball player, ” Godfrey said.

A native of Denver, he was the Jays first draft selection in the 1995 Major League Baseball draft, the 17th pick overall, and pitched for Toronto from 1998 to 2008 and for Philadelphia from 2009 to 2013, finishing with a 203-105 record.

The celebration of Halladay's life moved later at night to the Phillies' minor-league complex, where family and friends and old teammates reminisced.

They thought about Braden and Ryan, the two teenage sons the best pitcher of their generation left behind; the two boys who play baseball and were the first to step onto the grass for the memorial service inside a ballpark. He recalled Halladay, the competitor and the man.

The final speaker of the afternoon was the hardest to listen to: Halladay's wife, Brandy, who shared what her husband meant to her and everyone who knew him.

"Best of all", Brandy Halladay said, "I still get to see him every day because I look at you".

Rollins was right, with so many former teammates, coaches and officials from the Phillies on hand, it was like a reunion, albeit a very sad one.

The way Halladay routinely deflected credit from himself in postgame interviews. "We meet at Bob Evans at 4:30 next week, '" said Hill.

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"It hit me that their sons don't have their dad coming through the door and hearing his voice", Rollins, the father of three girls, said. I remember thinking, 'OK, he's here, it's not a joke, he's ready to go.

“Before I knew it, Doc belly flopped into that coffee-coloured water. They placed a single baseball there.

Halladay was killed when the sport plane he was flying crashed in the Gulf of Mexico last week. "I will miss you from the bottom of my heart". Everyone got a good laugh, but the prank was just beginning, as when the players returned to the clubhouse, a full wedding reception had been set up by a professional catering company in the dining room to celebrate. That's when it really got heavy and I realized how fortunate we all are. "I remember walking in with Brian Schneider, it was 5:45 in the morning, the sun wasnt out yet, assuming we would be the first people there".

"He's always going to be in my heart, Ruiz said". "I was like, 'Man, I'm just a little black guy from the South, I need my fried chicken'". He's staring me down.

Hudson's ribbing of Halladay didn't stop at dining decisions. I'm sure all your lives you've heard people praise your dad and tell you how proud they were of him. I thought to myself, theres no way, theres no way he already got a workout in. I looked down and said, 'Zauny, is he having any fun out there?' And Zaun was really talkative and chatty. But I got to sit in front of him on the plane and get to know him as a man, as a father, as a husband. "I'm thankful for him, that's how I got my first Gold Glove, he got me my first Gold Glove".

For Chris Carpenter, it started when they were minor-leaguers in the Jays system, fishing late nights near the Dunedin spring camp and dreaming of the day as big-leaguers when they could simply toss their uniforms in a bin to get washed.

"Going through my struggles early, he always said, 'Ben, here's the main thing I want you to know in this game, if guys see you not being a true teammate, just pouting about yourself, that's when you won't last long, '" he said. "As a baseball player, as an athlete in general, you physically prepare for everything". It starts with your heart, your work ethic and definitely your faith in you.' He and Charlie (Manuel) really helped me change my game that year. It really hit home. "He's that great of a person".

Halladay's dad, Roy, spoke beautifully about his son. Later, he described the right-hander's selflessness and determination to win with the Blue Jays.

"We went out that night and played pool, loser buys ice cream. Brandy, Braden and Ryan: Thank you for sharing him with us". That's why he was so special, not only in Toronto, but then they got to see it in Philadelphia, too. "It's what we do in baseball, and it's what we're going to keep doing". His agent called and prepared him for bad news.


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