'Roy Halladay made me love baseball': Jays fans mourn loss of pitching legend
Former Blue Jays pitcher passed away after small plane crash in Florida on Tuesday
Toronto sports fans are sharing their memories of Roy "Doc" Halladay, who died Tuesday afternoon after his small plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.
Halladay played with the Jays from 1998-2009, winning 148 games and the 2003 Cy Young Award as the American League's best pitcher.
Mitchell DuTrizac was a big fan of the Blue Jays in the late '90s and early 2000s when Halladay shone, even when the team was struggling.
"Him coming sparked a new era in Toronto and helping build the franchise into what it is today," he recalled.
Ward Sellers came to Toronto after Halladay became a household name and was also shocked by the news.
"He was the anchor for years," Sellers said. "His name is there in the Rogers Centre, and we think about him all the time whenever I take my sons to the games."
Word of Halladay's death spread quickly on Tuesday. Sean Strickland learned about his death when he was at a conference.
"The buzz started to happen in the room, 'Did you hear that Roy Halladay died?"' Strickland said. "He struck me as a competitive guy and a nice guy at the same time."
Mayor John Tory expressed his sympathies to Roy Halladay's family on Twitter and shared his memories.
Shocking news out of Florida. Saddened to hear that we've lost <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJays?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BlueJays</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/legend?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#legend</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyHalladay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RoyHalladay</a>. Will never forget seeing the Doc dominate on the mound here in Toronto. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CyYoung?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CyYoung</a> <a href="https://t.co/25KxOWj0q3">pic.twitter.com/25KxOWj0q3</a>—@JohnTory
Halladay's death also had fans online sharing memories of watching him play in Toronto during his Jays heyday.
I think I speak for a lot of early/mid 90s born kids growing up in the Toronto area: Roy Halladay made me love baseball. What a huge loss.—@GregBalloch
roy halladay gave us something to cheer about during the height of toronto's sports misery and for that i'm forever grateful, R.I.P—@miskeencore
No athlete who ever played in Toronto loved this city as much as Roy Halladay. This is a sad day for Toronto.—@sophiegiorno
RIP Roy Halladay. I have no words. Thanks for being my role model and hero when I was a kid. I still have a poster of you on my wall back home. Don't worry Doc, Philly and Toronto will take care of your wife and kids. RIP Doc Halladay—@AlexPichardo17
Fans also looked back on his departure from the Blue Jays — and his one-day return so he could retire with the team.
Roy Halladay is gone... I remember his full page ad thanking Toronto when he left. Thank YOU Doc for being an amazing person. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIPRoy?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIPRoy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jays?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jays</a>—@MattLeslie2
Remember when Roy Halladay got traded back to the Jays so he could retire as a Blue Jay? RIP Doc <a href="https://t.co/EHnGOIrNif">pic.twitter.com/EHnGOIrNif</a>—@lucky_budd