34ever: Phils retire Doc Halladay's number

August 8th, 2021

The Phillies’ Wall of Fame Weekend came to an emotional close on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, as ’s No. 34 was posthumously retired by the club.

Halladay’s wife, Brandy, and two sons, Braden and Ryan, were unable to attend Sunday after a family member tested positive for COVID-19. But Brandy sent a message through Halladay’s former teammate, Raúl Ibañez, who told the crowd, “She said Philly will always be their home away from home.”

Halladay spent four seasons with the Phillies (2010-13), winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2010 and making a pair of NL All-Star teams (2010-11). The right-hander also threw two of the greatest games in club history, furthering his legacy in Philadelphia.

Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, just the second perfect game in Phillies history (Jim Bunning, 1964). Then on Oct. 6 of that same year, Halladay threw the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history, dominating the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS.

“Doc is one of the greatest of all time,” Bryce Harper said after the Phillies' 3-0 win over the Mets. “I was lucky enough to see him pitch, lucky enough to face him -- well, not lucky enough, but definitely pretty cool to be able to step in the box and look up and see Roy Halladay. He was a legend in a lot of people's eyes and in my eyes as well, so it was really cool seeing that before the game.”

Halladay, who died tragically on Nov. 7, 2017, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in July 2019.

No. 34 becomes the eighth number retired by the Phillies above the rooftop in Ashburn Alley, joining Richie Ashburn (1), Robin Roberts (36), Steve Carlton (32), Mike Schmidt (20), Bunning (14), Jackie Robinson (42) and Dick Allen (15).

Among those in attendance for the ceremony were former teammates Ibañez, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Kevin Frandsen and Carlos Ruiz and former GM Ruben Amaro Jr., manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee.

“It's a privilege and an honor,” said Ibañez, who was chosen to speak on behalf of Halladay’s former teammates. “Doc the pitcher, everybody knew; but Doc the man, we got to intimately know. That's what made it very difficult, knowing his family, knowing how much he loved his family.”

Ibañez shared a story about one of his early memories of facing Halladay during the pitcher’s days in Toronto.

“During one at-bat, I asked the catcher, my friend and former teammate Gregg Zaun, if Roy was having any fun on the mound,” Ibañez said. “I said, ‘If I had his stuff, I’d be having a blast.’ Zauny looks down and mumbles, ‘I don’t know.’ No eye contact, he won’t look at me. Gregg Zaun was never at a loss for words. Then I looked out to the mound and found a very patient, fire-breathing dragon that was clearly not amused by the conversation his catcher was having with the enemy. The next day, on a Sunday at the gym, Zauny says, ‘We're never talking on Doc’s day again. Ever.’ We just left it at that.

“Fast forward to 2010 when Roy and I became teammates, I learned firsthand that Roy was the most prepared, disciplined, detailed, diligent, focused, fiercest and hardest-working machine of consistency on the planet. He demanded excellence and perfection from himself, and was willing to do everything in his power to ensure that he was prepared to perform at a level only achievable to select pitchers in the history of this great game.”

Phillies managing partner John Middleton and Ruiz -- Halladay’s catcher for his perfect game and postseason no-hitter -- unveiled a six-foot-high No. 34 statue at the Third Base Plaza. Moments later, Carlton -- standing just below his own retired No. 32 -- unveiled Halladay’s No. 34 on the brick wall at the end of the ceremony.

“It was something really special for me to be a part of the ceremony, to see the incredible fan base and to be a part of this incredible moment where they're retiring Roy's number,” Ruiz said through Ibañez, who translated for his former teammate. “It's an honor. It's a whole gamut of emotions. From joy to pride to sadness, then just the appreciation that we got to share those times together.”