The Phillies have decided that no one in the organization will wear No. 34 during the 2018 season to honor Roy Halladay.
The death of former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay is still a fresh wound that most fans are having trouble trying to process to this day.
Halladay died on Nov. 7 when the plane he was piloting went down in the Gulf of Mexico. He was only 40 years old and the outpouring of grief and emotion in the days after the tragedy was something to behold.
It seems odd to think that Halladay only wore a Phillies uniform for four very brief seasons. The bulk of his amazing career was spent with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he played from 1998 until 2009. But it was with the Phillies that Halladay went from future Hall of Fame pitcher to MLB legend.
In his first year with the team, Halladay achieved two milestones in the same season that Phillies fans will be telling their grandchildren about for generations to come.
First on May 29, 2010 Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in the history of baseball. He retired all 27 batters he faced, striking out 11. If you were lucky enough to have watched that game, you knew early on that something special was going to happen.
Then on October 6, Halladay made his first appearance in the postseason and threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS. He became only the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs and the first to throw a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same season.
But what really endeared Roy Halladay to Phillies fans everywhere was more than just the accomplishments and accolades. Halladay was a “Philly guy” through and through. He worked his ass off, had a work ethic second to none and never made excuses when he didn’t have his best stuff.
Halladay had quickly joined a very short list of athletes that had forever become a part of the fabric of this city.
And when he was gone, it left a hole that has been hard to fill or even understand.
Last week the Phillies announced that they will be taking the first steps towards honoring Halladay by effectively retiring his No. 34, starting next season.
While No. 34 will still be considered active, no one will wear the number during 2018.
Last season catcher Andrew Knapp wore No. 34 during his rookie campaign but he, along with the Phillies front office, decided that it would be best if he switch to another number going forward as a way to honor Halladay’s memory. Next year Knapp will wear No. 15, which he wore while he played at Cal-Berkeley.
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You can be sure that this will not be the end of the ways the Phillies organization will honor Halladay going forward. I would guess that enshrinement on the Wall of Fame will be coming very soon as well as a formal retirement of Halladay’s No. 34.
Whatever the Phillies decide to do, somehow I doubt it will ever be enough to show what Roy Halladay really meant to Philadelphia.