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With Halladay, loyalty came first

Updated: October 7, 2010, 2:38 PM ET
By Buster Olney

J.P. Ricciardi watched Roy Halladay become the first pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter on color television at the New England Sports Arena in Marlborough, Mass., and like anyone who has ever been around Halladay -- as a teammate, as a member of the same organization, as a friend -- Ricciardi felt unfettered joy. Because Halladay has earned nothing less, by the way that he has conducted himself, the way he has prepared, the way he has treated others.

"It's almost like he is being rewarded for being such a good guy," Ricciardi said, "and it doesn't always happen that way."

No.

Sports headlines are saturated with prima donnas and contract disputes and trade demands, and Halladay has never been about any of that -- even when he wanted out of Toronto. The way he handled that was a model of restraint, of professionalism.

During the offseason of 2008-09, Ricciardi was told by the Toronto's ownership that the Blue Jays were not going to expand the team's payroll. In fact, they would wind up making cuts. Halladay had signed an extension with the Blue Jays in the spring of 2006 under the presumption that Toronto would expand its payroll in an effort to give the Blue Jays a greater chance to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, and as soon as Ricciardi learned that plan was changing, he felt obligated, in good faith, to inform Halladay, who had a full no-trade clause.

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