Some highlights from Roy Halladay’s retirement press conference…
Halladay explains state of his shoulder and reason for retiring:
“One of the major factors was there's been stuff written about shoulders and stuff. I've been throwing to my boys, and my shoulder feels as good as it ever has. Unfortunately, I can't get them out, but it feels good.
“But the major issue for me is, as I mentioned to some of the media last spring, was my back really became an issue for me. I have two pars fractures, an eroded disk between the L4, and L5, and there is a significant setback in there to where the nerves are being pinched, and really, it's just made it hard to pitch with the mechanics I want to pitch with. So over the last two seasons, I've had to change some things, do some things different to be able to throw the ball, and unfortunately, that's led to some shoulder issues. But the big thing has really been the back. Speaking with doctors, they feel like at this point, if I can step away and take some of that highlevel pressure off of it, it will hopefully allow me to do some regular things and help out with the kids' teams. I'm trying to find a 35 and over basketball league. My wife's already shaking her head.
“But I want to be active. I want to continue to do things I enjoy doing, spend time with my family. The biggest thing is I'm trying to avoid surgery. They feel like we can address a lot of things by injections, by physical therapy. But we're trying to avoid having to fuse. That will just lead to more issues down the road. So that is one of the big things we're trying to avoid.
“But really, I think it came down to a family decision. I think there are ways to get around those things, and to be able to go out there I didn't feel like I could pitch at the level that I wanted to and felt like I owed to organizations I was going to play for. So we took a lot of time making the decision, but I really feel like it's the right decision for us, and it makes a lot of sense for us. We'll improve quality of life and give me a chance to hopefully not ruin my kids (smiling).
“But it's an exciting day for us. There is a lot for me to look forward to. Baseball has been so great to me. My goal is to try and leave baseball better than what I found it, and I've tried to do that in my career. I've tried to be respectful to the game and do things the right way. I've tried to do that to the best of my ability, and moving forward, I'd like to do the same.”
On difficulty of dealing with injuries in his last two seasons:
“It was tough. I think a lot of people who I was close with, players, front office, trainers obviously knew that it was a struggle. It is so much fun to play the game and to go out and compete. I look forward to that fifth day more than anything. To be able to go out there and know that it's probably not going to feel very good and I'm not going to be able to do things the way I want to do them was very frustrating. Not only personally, but I felt like there was a certain responsibility that I owed to my teammates, to the organization, so that part was definitely very challenging for me.
"You're trying to give everything you can, but there is something holding you back. That was a challenge for me. Like I said, that was a major factor in why we decided this was the right time is because I want to be able to give everything to myself that I can. I felt like this was a point where I really couldn't do that anymore. I couldn't give them what I wanted to. So from that standpoint, we knew it was the right time.”
On not realizing goal of competing in a World Series:
“Well, I think I always knew how tough it was to win a World Series, especially being in the AL East. You know, it's not an easy thing to do. Going to Philadelphia, I felt like we really gave ourselves the best chance. Being involved in those playoffs was probably some of the most memorable experiences I'll have in baseball, from the camaraderie standpoint, to being in that atmosphere, playing in the playoffs. I think the one thing I took away from that is you can have the best team on paper. You can have the guy who's want it the most. But when the squirrel runs across home plate while your team is trying to pitch, there is nothing you can do about that. So you really start to realize there are a lot of things out of your control. It takes more than nine guys. It takes nine guys, and it takes the 25 on the roster. It takes the coaches, the staff, and it takes a lot of luck.
“I'm very fortunate I had the chance to get to the playoffs, to experience that atmosphere. I've always wanted to win a World Series. You know, hopefully down the road I can be a part of it in a different aspect. But it's something I definitely wanted, but I think having the chance to be in the playoffs to experience the atmosphere, I am more comfortable knowing I came up a little bit short than having never gotten that shot.
“So, very grateful to have that opportunity, and especially to have it with the Phillies and the guys that we had on that team. Those are memories I'll never forget.”
On what he’s most proud of and what liked to be remembered for:
“I think for me it was just not quitting. I think at any point, not quitting. I definitely had some bumps in the road. And even when things were good, you know, you're going to have bad games. You're going to have things that you're going to have to overcome. I didn't ever feel like when I took the mound that I gave anything less than my best effort. Sometimes it sounds cliché, it sounds easy enough, but when things aren't going your way, when there are other things in the back of your head going on, it's not easy to always go out there and give everything you have. I'm really proud of the fact that I feel like I was able to do that. Even in games where I had a game, I remember, that really stood out for me. One of the favorite games I ever pitched in Detroit. We won 98, and I gave up eight runs, but I pitched eight innings and was able to pick up a win. To me that really stood out. That's a game where you don't give up. You continue to grind. You continue to battle. You continue to work. And I took a lot of pride in the fact that even when things were bad and things looked bleak, I was going to continue to give my best effort.”
On whether he thought he threw his last pitch, and that retirement was imminent, in Miami in September:
“No, I wasn't thinking about it then. I think at that point it was, okay, what can I do now? What is the next step to make this better? Then once the offseason progressed and talking to my wife, talking to some back doctors and really getting the big picture, I think what changed for me was starting to look at the future, starting to look down the road. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? I think looking at that part of it, I started to realize that this was the right decision to make.
“It's hard to look past that sometimes and turn the page on something you love so much. But I think looking down the road and seeing my sons in the same situation I was in when I was their age and having dreams of things they want to achieve, I realized that this needs to become a priority for me and the best way for me to do that is to retire and not continue to put the strain on my body and get myself in a situation where they have to help me stand up to throw batting practice. So that was a big factor for me.”