Anyone dying young is terribly sad, but the story about Greg Halman hurts my soul.
If you missed the news, Halman — a promising, 24-year-old rookie outfielder with the Seattle Mariners — died as a result of a stab wound Monday morning at his apartment in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Investigators are now investigating the possibility that his brother wielded the weapon that killed him.
If this is true, the story goes well beyond tragedy and into pure senselessness.
I remember Halman when he played in the Northwest League a few years back. A native of Haarlem, Netherlands, he spent two years with the Everett AquaSox. He started out there in 2006 but really caught fire in 2007. A five-tool talent, he became a NWL all-star and routinely punished the Tri-City Dust Devils with his patient approach at the plate.
Looking back on one story I wrote back in June of 2007, Halman teed off on Dust Devils pitching, going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs. He told me did it by laying off the off speed stuff and waiting for a good pitch to hit. He waited for enough of those in 2007 to hit .307 with 16 home runs and flirt with .600 slugging percentage.
Obviously, I only saw a portion of what he was capable of doing on the field. The ones who got to see him every day got to see something even more special. I met him for a short time, but looking back on the story I wrote, he added some nice color to the story with his reactions.
He even said he liked hitting at what is now Gesa Stadium. If that didn't tell you what a unique player he was, I don't know what would.
Rest in peace, Greg. Thank you for sharing your talents with us, and I'm not just talking about baseball.
You will be missed.