Pitcher Roy Halladay honoured by former MLB teammates after plane death

A fierce competitor on the mound, Roy Halladay was generous and gentle away from the baseball field.

The eight-time MLB All-Star loved his family, baseball and flying.

Halladay's passion for piloting cost him his life on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) when his private plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.

Former teammates, coaches and fans mourned the sudden loss of the beloved former player, who was known for his tireless work ethic. Nearly every memory began with a story about Halladay's legendary workout program and his early morning routine.

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Halladay even outworked Chase Utley.

The fan favourites quickly became close friends after Halladay was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies before the 2010 MLB season. Utley recalled his introduction to Halladay at the team's practice complex in Clearwater, Florida.

"My heart hurts writing this," Utley wrote on Instagram. "I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45am on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said 'No I just finished my workout.' I knew right then - he was the real deal. Thank you Roy for allowing us to witness what it takes to be the best. We will all miss you."

Former teammate Cole Hamels, currently a Texas Rangers ace, joined Phillies chairman David Montgomery at Philadelphia's ballpark to remember Halladay. Fans left pictures, candles and notes outside the stadium to honour Halladay, who played four years there after spending his first 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.

"Behind everything he did, he had a purpose," Hamels said. "I think you come to realise that you have very small, short moments in life to do something great so you have to maximise it. You have to make the best of it. And he did. He made us push to a level that sometimes you didn't think you could actually reach. He made everybody better."

Halladay won a Cy Young Award in each league and tossed a perfect game and a no- hitter in his first postseason start in the same year after coming to the Phillies. The 6-foot-6 right-hander was a three-time 20-game winner who finished 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.

 - AP

Fuente: WAIKATO TIMES