View Full Version : Ex-Giants star reliever Beck dies at 38
06-24-2007, 03:55 PM
Wow. That's sad. RIP Rod.:(
Ex-Giants star reliever Beck dies at 38
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 24, 2007 12:28 PM
Former baseball relief pitcher Rod Beck died Saturday at his home in northeast Phoenix. He was 38.
Beck played 13 years in the major leagues, seven with the San Francisco Giants, who base their spring-training camp in Scottsdale.
In 1993, at age 24, Beck developed into one of the game's best closers, saving 48 games for the Giants and finishing 12th in the National League Most Valuable Player balloting.
In 1998, Beck signed a free-agent contract with the Chicago Cubs and made an immediate impact. In his first season, he posted a career-best 51 saves, tied for eighth best all time.
A three-time All-Star, Beck finished his career with short stints with the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres. He retired in 2004 with 286 saves, 21st on the all-time list.
Beck died at his home at 5900 block of East Ludlow Drive. Phoenix Police are investigating because Beck was alone at the time of his death, but no foul play is expected.
06-24-2007, 03:56 PM
Falls City Beer
06-24-2007, 03:57 PM
Damn, that's awful. I imagine old Rod led a pretty "live fast, die young" life.
Still, way too damn young.
06-24-2007, 04:03 PM
Too young :(
06-24-2007, 04:28 PM
Too young. He was a pretty good reliever for a time with the Giants. Our prayers go out to his family during this terrible time.
06-24-2007, 05:00 PM
Rod Beck, a relief pitcher who wore a bushy mustache while earning 286 career saves, was found dead Saturday. He was 38.
Beck was found by police officers responding to a call to his home in suburban Phoenix, according to police department spokesman Andy Hill. Foul play is not suspected, though the cause of death might not be known for several days.
With long hair framing a menacing stare and an aggressive arm swing before delivering a pitch, the outgoing right-hander was a memorable baseball personality and a three-time All-Star who twice led the NL in saves. He spent the first seven of his 13 major league season with the San Francisco Giants.
Beck was popular with his teammates, reporters and fans, but battled personal demons late in his life. He abruptly left the San Diego Padres for a two-month stint in drug rehabilitation during his final season in 2004.
“He was having some problems, and I just knew he went into rehab and joined us later that year,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, the Padres’ manager at the time. “It’s so sad when you see healthy players go at such a young age. This is a bad day in baseball to lose a guy who did so much for the game.”
06-24-2007, 06:43 PM
A year younger than me - way too young, indeed. The comments by Bochy seem to point towards something ugly, but I certainly hope that is not the case.
06-24-2007, 11:43 PM
I remember seeing somewhere when he was pitching for the AAA Iowa Cubs a few years ago how he would sit in his RV after the game and drink beers with fans who came to the ballpark. He of course became quite a fan favorite in Des Moines and I admired how a very good baseball player was that down to Earth. Quite sad to hear the news.
06-25-2007, 12:28 AM
38, wow. I remember hearing about him living in that RV during the season. He cleaned himself up and went to that length to play the game he loved so much. This is incredibly sad news.
06-26-2007, 03:13 PM
A really good tribute here from SF Chron's Betting Fool:
"An ode to Shooter: Rod Beck (1968-2007)
By SFGate.com columnist Betting Fool
There are good Giants. And there are GREAT Giants. Rod Beck, who died on Sunday at age 38, was a GREAT Giant. The swinging arm, the messy mullet, the Fu Manchu, the gut that said to everyone at Candlestick Park: "Gym? What gym? Where's the bar?" Indeed, the hardcore dirtball Giants fans -- including this Fool -- who went to the Stick for baseball church services in the Beck Years (1993-'97), will always remember "Shooter" as the ballsy pitcher who looked decorum and tradition in the face and -- hawked a 98 mph loogie.
Stationary bike? How about a stationary shot glass, and keep it full. In 1993, during perhaps the best Giant pennant race ever, Beck (48 saves, 2.16 ERA) was a rock down the stretch. He pitched in almost every game down the stretch. Toward the end, he had nothing. He dared batters to hit whatever he threw and it was mostly slow and not very straight. And they still couldn't it very hard. Rod Beck working out in spring training in 1994. Gotta love that evil grin. That brutal chunk of games might have cost him his fastball, which he never seemed to regain. He saved between 28 and 37 games the next four seasons, but it was more on guile and splitters than pure heat. Robb Nen sacrificed his arm much the same way in 2002, never to return.
The Giants won 103 games in 1993 and it got them nothing as the Braves prevailed in the old NL West alignment The strike happened next year as Matt Williams was having an epic season and baseball faded ingloriously from the national scene for a while. Beck was such a great Giant that I wasn't even that ticked off at him when he helped knocked the Giants out of the playoffs as a closer for the Cubs in the 1998 wild-card playoff game. Beck's arm was hanging by a thread when he was a Cub and he had reconstruction surgery shortly after that, missing all of the 2002 season. Did Beck give up? No, he parked his trailer behind Sec Taylor Stadium in Iowa, playing for the Cubs Triple-A team and welcoming anyone and everyone into his trailer for a drink and a story. One of Beck's greatest quotes was in that story: "I'm old school, I was taught that ice was for bourbon, not for your arm," he said, realizing he had to take care of himself a little better and that nature was taking its course on his once-rubbery arm. Personal demons (Beck went to rehab in 2004 while playing for the Padres) may have cost Beck some years. I'm sure we'll find out in time. I'm not sure I want to know.
The phrase "untimely death" is always parrotted by TV hacks, who repeat oxymorons as if they invented them. Has anyone ever heard of a timely death? Maybe if someone gets to age 117, sure, that's timely. I'll just say Rod Beck was taken from the list of GREAT living Giants far too soon. His arm now swings in baseball heaven, his long-gone mullet now fully restored and mingling with the clouds. Did I say baseball heaven? Check that. Let's put Beck in baseball's after-nightlife -- at the biggest party, with the coldest beer and surrounded by the most friends. RIP Shooter."
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