Carlos Ruiz stood behind the left-field scoreboard Saturday night at Citizens Bank and waited for his cue. In the span of five months, Ruiz had helped Roy Halladay author a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter. Now he was ready to help his old friend again.
"One, two, three," shouted public address announcer Dan Baker.
Halladay joined Pat Gillick as the 39th and 40th members of the Phillies Wall of Fame. And it became official once Ruiz heard Baker's "three" and yanked the black draping off the brick wall to reveal Halladay's bronze plaque.
"ONE OF THE GREATEST PITCHERS OF HIS GENERATION. TRADED FROM TORONTO TO THE PHILLIES ON DECEMBER 16, 2009," the plaque read.
Brandy Halladay said her family was devastated in the summer of 2009 when a trade to Philadelphia failed to reach the finish line. Halladay played out the season in Toronto and then gathered his family on their boat in Florida, ordered a pizza, and discussed their future. Halladay knew he would be traded, but thought Philadelphia was out of the picture.
"We all sat close and talked about where we wanted to go and we made a decision ," Brandy Halladay said. "It was probably 7 a.m and we got this random phone call. 'The Phillies still want you.' They what? We couldn't believe it. We were on a plane at 10 and then here in town. We were so excited."
"IN HIS FIRST YEAR AS A PHILLIE WON THE 2010 NL CY YOUNG AWARD, PITCHED THE SECOND POSTSEASON NO-HITTER IN MLB HISTORY AND LED THE MAJORS IN WINS (21), INNINGS (250.2), COMPLETE GAMES (9) AND SHUTOUTS (4)," the plaque continued.
It was hard to find a flaw in Halladay's first season in Philadelphia. But the pitcher who sought perfection – and found it that one night in Miami – discovered a blemish. He struggled with bunting after playing the first 12 seasons of his career with the services of a designated hitter.
Halladay laid down just two sacrifices. He was embarrassed, pitching coach Rich Dubee said. He finished the next season with 16 to lead all pitchers. That was because of Halladay's "hardwork, dedication, and commitment," Dubee said. Perhaps a bit of that improvement can be attributed to manager Charlie Manuel.
"We were at the ballpark one day in New York and I got there early and Roy was already there and he pitched the night before," Manuel said. "I was kidding him about his hitting. He looked at me and said 'There's nobody here, Charlie. Why don't we go down in the cage?' So Roy and I got in the cage and he got loose. I threw one ball and he took one swing and hit it off the railing on the screen and it hit me on the head. It knocked me down. He walked down to where I was at and he said 'Hey Chuck, I think this hitting session is over.' "
"SELECTED TO TWO ALL-STAR TEAMS AS A PHILLIE, INCLUDING BEING NAMED STARTER IN 2011. OVERALL, WENT 55-29 WITH A 3.25 ERA AND 18 COMPLETE GAMES IN 103 STARTS IN FOUR YEARS WITH PHILADELPHIA. FINISHED HIS CAREER AS AN EIGHT-TIME ALL-STAR WITH TWO CY YOUNGS," were the plaque's finishing lines.
Brandy Halladay wondered why her husband couldn't just stay home after he retired in December of 2013. The couple's sons – Braden and Ryan – were now teenagers with busy schedules. Brandy Halladay told her husband he could help with carpools. But Roy Halladay was still drawn to baseball. He helped coach his sons baseball teams. That was pretty cool, Ryan Halladay said, to have his best friends learn from his dad. Along with coaching his sons, Halladay spent the final months of his life working with Phillies minor-leaguers at the team's complex near the Halladay's Florida home.
He had his own office at the Carpenter Complex where wide-eyed prospective big-leaguers would sit in a zero-gravity massage chair as Halladay passed on lessons about the game's mental side. The words on his Wall of Fame plaque were already etched. A career that will likely reach Cooperstown, N.Y., next summer was already complete. But this was perhaps the start of a future in baseball for Halladay. A future that ended too soon.