COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Brandy Halladay had a déjà vu moment earlier this year while watching her younger son Ryan pitch for the Florida Burn, a 14-year-old traveling baseball team with a strong reputation for developing quality players.
Her older son Braden had pitched for the same team before going on to play at Calvary Christian High School, a powerhouse team from Clearwater, Fla., that plays just a few miles away from the Phillies’ spring-training ballpark. Braden is enrolled at Penn State and is scheduled to pitch for the Nittany Lions next season.
“The Burn has two teams,” Brandy said. “Our team is in Tampa and there’s another team in Venice and this summer they combined to form an all-star travel team.”
Michael Dubee, a former Phillies minor-leaguer and the son of former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, is working as a part-time assistant for the Burn this season. As Brandy watched Ryan come off the field recently, she watched Michael Dubee use his right arm to pat her youngest son on the shoulder.
“I had seen Rich do that with Roy so many times,” Brandy Halladay said. “And Michael did the same thing and I just lost it. It really hit me. I had never thought about Rich’s son coaching Roy’s son. It was a huge wall of emotion and gratitude. Who gets that? I’m so fortunate. The boys and I were talking about how even though their father is not here, he has left us with so much.”
Rich Dubee and his wife, Maureen, have attended games featuring Braden and Ryan, as has former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
“I still have this entire world of people who want to help us, who want to see us succeed,” Brandy said. “I have a million people I can call at any time and ask for advice. Who has Charlie Manuel showing up at their high school games? I need help and I call Kyle Kendrick and he’s there for me.”
Kendrick was among the Phillies’ contingent in attendance at Sunday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, along with Dubee, Manuel, former general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., owner John Middletown and assistant general manager Scott Proefrock. Kendrick said he remained close with Halladay after the two last played together in 2013.
“I saw him in the winter a lot,” he said. “He only lived 20 minutes from me. He was just a good all-around dude. I talked to him quite a bit when my own career was ending. When I was struggling in 2016 and my shoulder was bothering me, I texted him and he texted me back right away. He said, ‘Enjoy every day at the ballpark because you never know when it will be your last.’ I just remember reading that and being thankful for my time with him and as a ballplayer.”