As Verducci tells it, the couple, then with a six-month-old son, "wondered if they had saved enough money for Roy to quit baseball and go back to school."Halladay's new delivery, and the work that he did that summer with Mel Queen, was what got him back to the big leagues. But it was Brandy's discovery of a book, The Mental ABC's of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement by H.A. Dorfman—and eventually one-on-one work with Dorfman himself—that, along with his tireless work ethic, kept him there.He had seen failure up close. His career had been taken to the brink. Dorfman's teachings, he said, allowed him to face up to failure, and to avoid negative "thoughts creeping into your head, a picture of how things might not work out." He worked and fought and prepared and pushed to become the best player that his immense talent and power of will would allow him to be. "If you saw all the work that Roy put in for the four days before every start," said a Jays clubhouse manager in Verducci's piece, "all the conditioning, all the video work, all the studying—you would cry if he didn't come out of that game with a win."
Brandy Halladay happened to be holding her car keys when her husband talked about jumping out the window of their third-floor apartment near Dunedin, Fla., nine years ago. 'I would jump out the window,' Roy told his wife, 'but with my luck I would only break my leg, and I'd still have to go back out on the mound.' The macabre crack followed a declaration by Roy Halladay, a 23-year-old pitcher freshly demoted by the Blue Jays all the way to Class A ball, that he was too embarrassed to ever go back home to Colorado.
We can look at his statistics, his accolades, and reminisce about his baseball career and the great moments and the joy he brought us on the field, but the two Cy Young awards (which surely would have been three if not for a Kevin Mench liner to Doc's shin in the middle of his sublime 2005 season), the career 3.38 ERA, the 200 wins, and the seven times he led the majors in complete games don't nearly tell the full story.This was an incredible person, who was not just a great athlete, but all the things the best versions of ourselves aspire to be—not just talented and successful, but humble, loving, devoted, charitable, tenacious, hard-working, beloved. He was everything you want your sons and daughters to be. And, freed from the rigors of big league baseball, he was out there in the world, with a beautiful young family of his own, living his best life, having fun, and all of it so unbelievably richly deserved.That he's been taken away so suddenly, so crudely, leaving his family shattered and the baseball world to mourn, is unbearably cruel and unfair. This was going to be a time for Roy to enjoy himself, to coach his sons, to give back to the current Blue Jays and Phillies, and to be honoured for his career—on the Blue Jays' Level of Excellence, and ultimately in Cooperstown. Those things will happen regardless, but that he won't be there to bask in our love is a serious gut punch.We tend to think of sports as a fairly frivolous pursuit, and most times that's probably accurate. But every once in awhile there are people and stories that transcend mere wins and losses, that inspire, that teach us who we are, what we want to be in life, or what we can be when we push ourselves to the true limits of our capabilities. He may have done so quietly and humbly, leading by example rather than by sheer force of personality, but Roy Halladay was absolutely that. And it's absolutely heartbreaking that he's gone so soon.Rest in peace, Doc.