Jonathan Papelbon remembers late Hall of Famer Roy Halladay
By Matt Rappa
“Ambassador,” “Hall of Famer,” and the “hardest worker” were all words Philadelphia Phillies franchise saves leader Jonathan Papelbon used to describe his late former teammate Roy Halladay in a recent interview with Sportsnet.ca.
“We became really good friends. We fished every spring training,” Papelbon said. “Me and him shared [nearby] lockers for the last two years he was there. When you’re in the locker next to each other, you’re almost like family.”
“It was hard to see him not be able to compete like he always did,” Papelbon continued. “God rest his soul. Doc, rest in peace, my brother.”
Jonathan Papelbon remembers late Phillies and Blue Jays legend, Roy Halladay.
Papelbon signed with the Phillies after a seven-season stint with the Boston Red Sox — that included a 2007 World Series championship — following the 2011 season. The former Phillies closer envisioned his new team winning at least two World Series championships, especially with Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and others on the roster.
However, seemingly all of the Phillies greats never were the same after the crushing 2011 NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Halladay was among them, as he went just 11-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 starts in 2012, followed by 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA in 13 starts during his final season (2013). Injuries, and other issues that have surfaced since his 2017 passing, greatly affected Doc his last two seasons.
“Roy was such a gamer. He was in so much pain those last two years, we would be in the shower and he could barely wash his hair,” Papelbon recalled. “His arm would hurt, so he had to wash it with one arm. It was so hard to watch.”
Papelbon considers Halladay the “best competitor” he ever faced. Coincidentally, his first career win came opposite Halladay’s Toronto Blue Jays on September 12, 2005.
“The guy worked harder than anybody that has ever come across in the major leagues,” Papelbon said of Halladay. “That’s a fact. Nobody even came close to that.”
May 29 will mark 11 years since Halladay tossed a perfect game against the Florida Marlins. The Phillies planned to retire No. 34 on the 10-year anniversary of the feat. It is expected the ceremony will be rescheduled as COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen.