The Toronto Blue Jays’ organization made the right call, announcing that they will honour the late Roy Halladay at their home opener in 2018.
The first game at home for the Blue Jays is one filled with excitement every year. It’s usually the hottest ticket of the season, and even in years when the team struggled to get 20,000 people into the Rogers Centre, the place was always bumping on Opening Day.
There’s no doubt that fans will be excited again when April rolls around, but that first game will have some extra meaning in 2018, and will likely quiet the raucous crowd for at least a little while.
The Blue Jays announced on Wednesday that they will honour their franchise icon, Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash earlier this month while flying over the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay was just 40 years old, and is survived by his wife and two children.
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The day after Halladay perished, I wrote an article that talked about how the Blue Jays should spend zero time waiting to honour the Blue Jays’ legend, and I’m very pleased to see that’s exactly what’s happening. Sometimes in baseball, the tendency is to wait to acknowledge the legends of previous generations, and if he hadn’t tragically passed away, there’s a good chance Halladay would have spent another year or more under the radar.
He’ll be eligible for the Hall of Fame class of 2019, and I always assumed (and hoped), that the Blue Jays would add his name to their “Level of Excellence” around the same time that he gained election into Cooperstown.
We don’t know for sure if they’ll have that ceremony in April, as the club hasn’t yet released the details of how Halladay will be honoured, but here’s hoping that distinction is included in the details. If not, it’ll just be a matter of time before they choose to celebrate his life and his career again, but it feels right if it takes place in a few months time.
It’ll be a difficult afternoon to plan, and a day with plenty of puffy eyes at the Rogers Centre, but it’s the right thing do and I’m glad the Blue Jays aren’t wasting any time in honouring one of the best players in franchise history. By all accounts, he was one of the best PEOPLE in franchise history too, and that’s when you really need to go out of your way to make sure those folks are remembered and properly honoured.
Halladay played for the Blue Jays from 1998-2009, and finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA over the course of his career.