USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the prominent careers of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class.

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — It was the speech Brandy Halladay never wanted to give, but after tears, sniffles and choked emotions, it was her words that forever will be immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Brandy Halladay spoke for just seven minutes about her late husband, Roy. It was the shortest speech of the day in front of the crowd of 55,000. It may have the most lasting impact.

“I think that Roy would want everybody to know,’’ Halladay said, “that people are not perfect. We are all imperfect and flawed in one way or another. We all struggle. But with hard work humility and dedication, imperfect people can still have perfect moments.

“Roy was blessed in his life and career to have some perfect moments, but I believe they were only possible because of the man he strives to be, the teammate that he was, and the people he was so blessed to be on the field with.’’

Roy Halladay, who died when his plane crashed two years ago on the Gulf of Mexico near his Florida home, would have been 42 years old. Sunday.

It’s a death that still leaves questions, from his daredevil stunts that Nov. 7, 2017 afternoon, the morphine, amphetamines and Ambien found in his system, to his father and sisters revealing disturbing details to Sports Illustrated about depression and addiction to pain medication.

Brandy Halladay and her family, including their two sons, were hurt, and even angry. It was hardly the way they want their husband and father to be remembered.

Now, they pray induction will perhaps provide closure.

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“The message I wanted to convey there,’’ Brandy Halladay said after the ceremony, “is that Roy was a very normal person with a very exceptional, amazing job. These men doing these outstanding things, they’re still real people. They still have feelings. They still have families. They still struggle.

“So many of the guys that I’ve known in my life through baseball, they work so hard to hide them. I know Roy did. And Roy struggled a lot.

“Sometimes it’s hard to present the image you know everyone wants to see. It’s hard to be judged by the image people expect of you. It’s important we don’t sensationalize and idealize what a baseball player is, but look at the man and the human.

“I think Roy would rather be remembered by who he was, not what he did on the ball field.’’

The ovation after Halladay’s speech, with their two sons sitting in the front row, including Braden, a pitcher in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization where his father once pitched, left a lot more people wiping tears away than just Brandy.

“It was an absolute surreal experience,’’ Braden Halladay said. “My Mom is a rock.’’

The Hall of Famers on the stage behind her, most whom she had never met, provided support all week, giving her hugs, words of inspiration, and, of course, condolences.

 “It’s hard to understand, but it happened,’’ New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. “And all I was trying to do was pray for her because the Lord can give you strength.

“It was such a tough situation.’’

Follow Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale


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