Sunday, June 24, 2007


We haven’t heard the how or the why yet: just the who, what, and where:

Rod Beck.


In his Arizona home.


He was 38 and had young kids. What a horrible, appalling loss for his family. My thoughts go out to them, and to anybody to whom he was important.

For years, Beck has been the closer on my all-time favorite Giants team. How could one not like the guy? He was more like the fans than any other player I can think of. In interviews he always came across as a nice guy, honest and funny. In one interview I remember, he made the point that the players really don’t quite comprehend exactly how much money they make, saying that they think in terms of the number of years, and the number divided by a million, as in "12.6." He said that the actual numbers are just too big to fit into people’s heads.

In another interview he said that his name on his Fireman of the Year trophy was rendered as "Ron Beck."

Dusty Baker is the first person I ever heard call Beck “Shooter,” and I gathered that the nickname came from his way of staring down a hitter before, well, shooting him down. From the time he came up in 1991, he threw an awful lot, and by the time he left the Giants after 1997, he was pitching almost solely on guts. I’m not going to recount a lot of his on-field moments, but watching him get that double play out of Eddie Murray in the Brian Johnson game, after he had loaded the bases to begin the inning… well, when Johnson hit the homer, I felt just as good for Beck as I did for Johnson. There was no way not to root for him.

Beck is the closer on my all-time favorite Giants team and always will be.

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