Penn State Baseball’s Braden Halladay Discusses Father, Creating Own Legacy In ESPN Documentary

Before he began his career in Happy Valley, Braden Halladay’s choice to join Penn State baseball was influenced by a major family tragedy.

Halladay’s story was featured this weekend in a new ESPN documentary about his late father, Hall of Fame Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.

Influenced by his father, Halladay had developed a love for baseball as soon as he was able to swing a bat. Growing up as Roy’s son was no easy task, though. Halladay was trained by his father to not show emotion and ignore comments such as, “You’re not your father.” Halladay shrugged those comments off leading his team to a 30-0 season and a state championship as a sophomore alongside his father, the assistant baseball coach at Calvary Christian High School.

“I was there for his surreal moments, so for him to be there for mine was awesome,” Halladay said.

Only a few months later, Roy unexpectedly passed away on November 7, 2017, in a plane crash off the coast of Florida. Although his family took the life-changing news hard, the tragedy has inspired him to keep moving.

“There have been dark moments,” Halladay said. “I’ve struggled with pretty bad anxiety and periods of depression. But, even though it’s hard, I’ve kept that positive attitude to keep going through.”

After guiding his son for his entire life, Roy shared one last piece of advice in their last interaction before his tragic death that’s shaped his entire Penn State journey.

“The last time I saw him, we were talking about school and how awesome Penn State was,” Halladay said. “He’s like, ‘This is where you need to go.’ That’s the entire reason I’m here.”

Halladay keeps a journal called “The Road To 90,” where he tries to put his father’s teachings into action on the pitcher’s mound. When he’s throwing, he remembers some of his father’s advice to motivate him and become a better pitcher.

The documentary featured plenty of b-roll footage of Halladay throwing with fellow Penn State teammates and working alongside coach Rob Cooper. The film also took viewers inside the locker room, where the team discussed how to respond to situations outside one’s control.

Even though Halladay is mainly known for his work on the mound and for his famous father, he wants to build his own reputation outside of baseball and carve a life that’s unique to himself.

“Yes, I’m his son, and yes, I’m proud of it,” Halladay said. “But I have my individual goals, which is being able to be a person outside of baseball and just being Braden.”

Braden committed to Penn State on December 7, 2017, exactly one month after his father passed away. Two years later, he was selected in Round 32 of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, the same team that drafted Roy all those years ago.

Although Halladay and the Diamond Lions barely touched the mound this spring amid a shortened season, he’ll train to work his way into Penn State’s starting rotation in the coming months. No matter what, though, he’ll be making his father proud.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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