PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The late Roy Halladay provided Phillies fans with some fantastic memories over the years. A new book chronicles Halladay’s great career and his personal struggles.
Ten years ago Friday, Halladay achieved perfection. For more than a decade, Halladay was the best pitcher in baseball and became a Hall-of-Famer thanks to a legendary work ethic and demeanor.
In his new book, “Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay,” Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki examines more than the baseball player. Zolecki covered Halladay as closely as anyone during his time in Philadelphia.
Tonight at 520pm on CBS3 I talk with Todd Zolecki about his new book "Doc: The life of Roy Halladay."
The 10th anniversary of Doc's perfect game is Friday. And we all know about the tragic ending, but Todd breaks down in great detail a very complicated life. pic.twitter.com/y1sfaO4677
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) May 28, 2020
“It’s really a story about how somebody kind of overcomes personal struggles to achieve greatness,” Zolecki said. “Roy struggled a lot physically with his pitching mechanics, of course, but mentally really throughout his entire life.”
Halladay died tragically when the plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. It was found that he’d been flying with a dangerous mix of drugs in his system.
Zolecki’s book takes a deep look at the final years of his career leading up to his death.
“He was dealing with debilitating back pain, he was dealing with depression, he became addicted to medications,” Zolecki said. “I try to put in perspective what was going on because I think a lot of people have seen the NTSB reports, they’ve seen the coroner’s reports and they draw their own conclusions, but there was a lot going on there and that’s what I try to explain in this book.”
The book also shows the Hall of Fame person Halladay was, like after his perfect game in Miami, when he showered his teammates with gifts.
And then we hear of the stories of Halladay buying watches for his teammates and him almost instantly deflecting any praise someone should get for an achievement like that.
“He spent over $200,000 on watches to give to his teammates with the inscription, ‘We did it together,'” Zolecki said. “He didn’t just give it to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, he gave it to batboys, he gave it to the traveling secretary, he gave it to clubhouse guys. He gave it to anybody who he thought contributed to his success.
“I talked to over 100 different people for this book and they all kind of had the same vibe, the same feelings about him. This is a guy that deeply impacted them, so regardless of how he died and the circumstances surrounding it, they all feel like this great love for him to this day.”