NEW YORK -- The loss of former All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay on Tuesday of course was still on the minds of those around Major League Baseball on Wednesday, including dignitaries interviewed on the red carpet of Joe Torre's annual Safe at Home Foundation fundraiser dinner at Cipriani in Manhattan.
Halladay died on Tuesday afternoon when the ICON A5 he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast.
"I knew Roy very well by reputation, a little bit personally, and it's just a huge tragedy," Commissioner Rob Manfred said, elaborating on his statement from Tuesday. "He was a great teammate, everywhere he was, people raved about him. Just a real loss for the game.
"I think it's particularly tragic with Roy. He will be a Hall of Famer, and [it's] tragic that he won't be around to see it. He was a pillar of the game during a lot of the period that I was working in baseball, and all of us feel a real loss."
Former Yankees Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez and David Cone remembered a "tough competitor" and a "gamer" who was fierce to those standing 60 feet, 6 inches away.
"He was tough, man," Posada said. "Roy was a guy that you needed to be on your game against. He loved facing the Yankees, because he was very successful against us. Tough competitor, he kept going and going, even though he sometimes wasn't at his best. You know that guy who is going to be on his game every time he showed up against us. He worked really hard to improve. It's a tough loss."
"It was tragic. I was shocked down there in Tampa. I got a text right away," Martinez said. "I didn't know him well, but I played against him. Even playing against him, you could see he was a true professional, the way he went about his business, a gamer out there on the pitching mound. It's just sad for his family."
"Halladay was as good off the field as he was on the field. He helped so many people, so many charities. He was just a generous guy," Cone said. "But to me he was also one of the best I've ever seen at his craft of pitching. He kind of created his own style that nobody had ever seen before, and he perfected it. He could strike you out if he didn't walk you. He'd pitch complete games. He was the best of the best."
Speaking at his 15th annual event, which raises funds and awareness for his foundation in its mission to help kids affected by domestic violence, Torre recalled his task of managing Yankees games against Halladay.
"Go back to Doc Halladay over there with Toronto, you knew he had good stuff and he struggled, and he agreed to go back to [Class] A, Double-A baseball to try to straighten his stuff out," Torre said. "That's not easy for a player to swallow. And he did that, came back and became an All-Star.
"But to lose him so young. ... It devastated me, not only [because of] his ability but the class act that he was … It's a great loss, not to have him a part of society."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.