Rod Beck Day-What could’ve been…1 Comment
Raise a glass to former #Cubs reliever Rod Beck “The Shooter”, who sadly passed away at the age of 38 on this day back in 2007.
Rod Beck saved 51 games for the 1998 wild-card Cubs, but tore up his elbow in the process. He wound up having surgery in early 1999 and was traded away to the Red Sox. Out of baseball for 2001 and 2002, he signed with the Cubs in 2003, likely because of his Giants connection with new Cubs manager Dusty Baker. He spent two months at Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a 0.59 ERA and 1.043 WHIP in 21 appearances, all the while living in his Winnebago parked behind the scoreboard at Sec Taylor Stadium in Des Moines. His contract called for him to be granted free agency if he hadn’t been called up by June 1 and that’s exactly what happened.
Beck found work later that year with the Padres after closer Trevor Hoffman went down with an injury. While filling in, Beck converted 20 saves in 20 chances and posted a 1.78 ERA, earning him the 2003 National League Comeback Player of the Year award. In 2004, Beck dealt with personal problems during Spring Training and after struggling in a seventh inning role for the Padres, was ultimately released in August. Never to pitch in the big leagues again.
Beck died alone at his home in Phoenix, Arizona on June 23, 2007. While no cause of death was ever made public, cocaine and heroin were found in his bedroom. Beck was buried in Phoenix wearing his Chicago Cubs uniform despite pitching only two seasons for Chicago. It’s a shame that the Cubs didn’t keep him, we sure could have used him in a certain game during the 2003 NLCS. Things may have wound up a whole lot better for both Rod Beck and the Cubs if they had.
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