Sunday, October 20, 2013

Player Profile: Rod Beck

I have 48 cards of Rod Beck. This one is from 1994 Collector's Choice.

Playing career: Rod Beck pitched in 704 major league games, all in relief, compiling 286 saves. He became nationally prominent in the Giants’ surprising 1993 season, with a larger-than-life personality that was a throwback to many past closers. He saved at least 20 games in a season seven times and had over 45 saves in a season twice. He was dismal in the postseason, however, with a 7.64 ERA and no saves in six appearances, including allowing a walk-off home run to Bernie Williams in the 1999 ALCS.

Post-playing career: Beck had difficulty adjusting to post-baseball life after his career ended in 2004, eventually turning to drugs. He died of a cocaine overdose on June 23, 2007, leaving behind a wife and two children.

My memories: I was certainly familiar with him as a prominent closer with a flair for showmanship, very demonstrative on the mound. He had a reputation as one of baseball’s “good guys” but that surface apparently hid some very major personal problems.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Rod B, between Rod Building, referring to the making of fishing poles, and Rod Barton, an artist in London. Another prominent Rod Beck was a state senator in Idaho.

Coming up next: The next profile will be David Becker.

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