There's still no official word on what caused the death of former Major League pitcher Rod Beck, found in his Phoenix home on Sunday at the age of 38. Beck, of course, was one of baseball's great relievers for a stretch in the 1990s, in addition to being one of sports' great guys. For every fan, journalist or player who has been given the cold shoulder by Barry Bonds, the genuine warmth of Rod Beck has made up for it twice over.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a couple of nice pieces on him today, one by the always solid Scott Ostler. We love the story about how Beck, on the comeback trail in 2003, parked his RV behind the center field fence at the Cubs' Triple-A facility in Des Moines, Iowa. He refused to check in to a hotel because that would mean admitting that he was really in the minors.
The RV, of course, soon became the post-game hangout for players and fans, with Beck passing out the free beer. Classic Rod Beck.
Mark Gonzales, who covers the White Sox for the Chicago Tribune, covered the Giants for the San Jose Mercury News when Beck played there. Said Gonzales: "I know, you're not supposed to be close to players, but Rod was the only player I invited to my wedding."
And that's all that needs to be said right there.