PHILADELPHIA -- On Saturday evening, a tall, lanky right-hander stood in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park, his blond hair covered by a red Phillies cap. He tossed a baseball up and down to himself, silent, cutting a familiar presence. "No. 34, Halladay," his back read.Braden Halladay, a Penn State
PHILADELPHIA -- On Saturday evening, a tall, lanky right-hander stood in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park, his blond hair covered by a red Phillies cap. He tossed a baseball up and down to himself, silent, cutting a familiar presence. "No. 34, Halladay," his back read.
Braden Halladay, a Penn State commit, threw out the first pitch before the Phillies' game against the Marlins, capping an emotional night honoring his father. Along with former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick, the late Roy Halladay was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Saturday, and Braden and his younger brother Ryan sat behind their mother, Brandy, as she addressed the fan base that embraced her husband.
"We are so proud to still call Philly home," Brandy said, to roaring approval. Halladay, who died Nov. 7 when the aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, concluded his 16-year career with four seasons with the Phillies. He endeared himself to the Philadelphia fan base from the start, throwing the 20th perfect game in MLB history against the Marlins on May 29, 2010.
Not five months later, in his first career postseason start, he recorded the second no-hitter in playoffs history, against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS. He never won a World Series, but he walked away from the game in '13 with an impressive career resume: 203 wins, 2,117 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA.
Brandy, dressed in a dark green jacket and black pants, reflected on her husband's legacy, repeatedly wiping away tears.
"He was a better man than he was a ballplayer. That might be debatable for some of you, but not for me," she said.
Pat Burrell stopped by Citizens Bank Park as part of the alumni weekend festivities. His Phillies career didn't overlap with Halladay's; Burrell left town after the 2008 season, and "Doc" arrived in '10. But Halladay's work ethic was legendary to teammates and opponents alike. Burrell recalled arriving to the ballpark, seven hours before games, to see Halladay running around the stadium, dripping in sweat.
"There was nobody [that] a position player, a hitter, would respect more than him," Burrell said.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler recalled former Red Sox teammate Kevin Youkilis hitting a homer off Halladay. When Youkilis returned to the dugout, Kapler recalled, Boston's right-handed hitters were stunned by Youkilis' feat.
"As a righty, the sink and cut were just enormous," Kapler said. "I don't remember facing him myself."
When it was pointed out that Kapler had, in fact, faced Halladay during the regular season -- he was 2-for-16 -- he cowered, placing his hands atop his head in embarrassment.
"Two singles?" Kapler said. "They were probably bloops, barely over the infielders' heads.
"I didn't mind when I wasn't in the lineup when Roy Halladay was on the mound."
Brandy and Ryan addressed the media after the ceremony, and at one point, a reporter asked Ryan what it was like having his father coach his youth team. Brandy nudged the microphone toward her son.
"I thought it was cool, having some of my best friends learn what he had been teaching me," Ryan said.
Halladay also worked as a mental skills coach in the Phillies organization in the months before his death. It was a way to keep himself busy, sure, but also a way for him to give back to the organization that had given so much to his family. Brandy grinned as she recounted the electricity surrounding her husband pitching in meaningful games in Philadelphia.
"I still feel like I'm there. I actually still feel like I'm watching it happen" she said. "C'mon. He knew this is where he was supposed to be."
• Pedro Florimon, who has been out since fouling a ball off his right foot May 29, ran the bases before Saturday's game. Florimon fractured his right foot and was placed on the 60-day disabled list, but on Saturday, Kapler said the utilityman "looked pretty awesome."
Florimon will be sent to Class A Advanced Clearwater for his rehab assignment when the Phillies leave town to begin a road trip Monday.
• J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) was schedule to play nine innings at shortstop for Clearwater on Saturday. After an off-day Sunday, he'll play back-to-back nine-inning games on Monday and Tuesday. Crawford owned an .194/.312/.333 slash line before going down with the hand injury.
• Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, who has missed the entire season due to shoulder and wrist issues, was scheduled to start two innings for Clearwater on Saturday.
"If Jerad comes back healthy and strong, we're going to look for ways to get him on the field in September," Kapler said. "We could see this progressing fast. If it does and he's feeling strong and there's a way for us to incorporate him, we will."
Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com.