For the second consecutive November the Mariner family has experinced an off-season death. November 10th of 2010 Dave Niehaus, beloved announcer and Northwest icon suddenly died. And now Mariner prospect, Greg Halman, murdered in the Netherlands.
Halman was not the first Mariner to be murdered. Former Mariner Ivan Calderon was signed by the Mariners in 1979, made his Major League debut in 1984, and in 1986 was traded to the White Sox. At the age of 41, he was shot six times in the back, and once in the back of the head in a bar in his home country of Puerto Rico. The murder has never been solved. Rumors persist he was victim of an underworld hit, but no reason has been given.
It would appear from early accounts that Halman like Abel was slain by his brother. In Halman’s case, over loud music.
Greg was a hero in his native land for helping to spread baseball throughout Europe, for holding clinics for kids., and for playing baseball for his country.
The Mariners lost more than a potential future star, they lost from all accounts, a people person, a young man with a smile on his face for everyone he met.
His numbers for the Mariners are not important. When he came up this year he was hot, belting the ball all over Safeco. And like many young players, pitchers figured how to get him out. He tailed off, striking out too many times.
But he had the skills to play the game at the Major League level, he had the dedication to improve, he had the talent to play the outfield as good as Franklin Gutierrez.
So like last November with the passing of Niehaus, this off-season has a gloomy feel, one that matches the cold, rainy Northwest winter.