by Paul Kennedy
Even in celebration, as we do with this issue of SCD commemorating the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, we are reminded of how fragile life is, even for the giants who walk among us.
Roy Halladay was a hitter’s nightmare. Standing 6-foot-6, he demanded respect. And he got it. Although impressive, it surprised no one that he would pitch the 20th perfect game in major league baseball history, beating the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. Of course, it was Halladay. Who else? That he threw a no-hitter in his first postseason start later that same season was equally as memorable.
Halladay looked the part. Big. Powerful. Dominating. Nick Buoniconti did not.
Buoniconti, whose parents ran an Italian bakery in his hometown of Springfield, Mass., was small by NFL standards. No one saw his Hall-of-Fame career coming. When you’re 5’11” and weigh 220 pounds, you stand a better chance of baking bread every morning than playing professional football. And yet…
Halladay and Buoniconti grace the cover of this issue for a reason. Although both Hall of Fame players have passed, they deserve to be remembered. Halladay left us suddenly, shockingly, the result of a plane crash in 2017. For Buoniconti, dementia slowly and relentlessly stole everything, except his dignity, when he left us on July 30.
At Buoniconti’s Hall of Fame ceremony in 2001, his son, Marc, introduced his father, saying, “Whatever it is you’ve got inside you, we see it. We feel it. And it gives each one of us a little more reason to believe. Ladies and gentlemen, my hero, my friend, my dad, Nick Buoniconti.”
At Halladay’s Hall of Fame induction, his wife, Brandy, said, “Roy was blessed in his life and in his career to have some perfect moments but I believe that they were only possible because of the man he strived to be, the teammate that he was and the people that he was so blessed to be on the field with.”
You’ll read more about the Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend starting with Dan Schlossberg’s story on page 20 of the player roundtable festivities and continued on page 46 with David Moriah’s extensive weekend overview. Turn to page 50 to read our tribute to Buoniconti.
The Hall of Fame festivities give us pause, an opportunity to revel and reflect.
They come in all shapes and sizes, these athletes we give our hearts to. Whether this sporting romance is a lifelong affair or a childhood fling matters little. In the fleeting moments, they are with us, we are moved by greatness.
That greatness, Halladay and Buoniconti proved, transcends the field.
Paul Kennedy is the Content Editor of SCD. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org