By Shawn Chitnis
ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – The current baseball team, former players, and the family of Roy Halladay honored the major league star before a game on Monday at his old high school in Arvada.
“That year was a special bond with all of us,” said Brian Bengston, a member of the 1994 state championship team at Arvada West High School.
Halladay played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays, becoming an eight-time All-Star pitcher. He died in a plane crash in November 2017 in the Gulf of Mexico.
The current coach of the team invited Halladay’s family onto the field so he could honor the Cy Young Award winner. He talked about Halladay’s highlights as a player for Arvada West and the inspiration he has become for future teams.
“We tend to lose touch over the years and it was nice to have that reunion,” said Roy Halladay, Sr., the late pitcher’s father.
Players from the 1994 team say they became lifelong friends because of the connection they created in high school. But it was hard to keep in touch and some hadn’t seen their former teammates in almost 10 years.
The memories of that season remain including standing beside a future professional player.
“It was amazing, you know, it was an honor,” said Bengston. “If he wasn’t the person that he was, it probably wouldn’t have been that special.”
The current coach told his team to think of Halladay as a role model. His goal for the team is to have players who should be like Halladay and players who can be like him. A reminder that the Arvada West alumnus impacted so many in this community then and now.
“He was a great, great person. He was an example even to me growing up,” said his father. “Very motivated, very humble, very enthusiastic, I learned a lot from my son.”