Saturday, October 19, 2013

Player Profile: Steve Bechler

I have two cards of Steve Bechler. This one is from 2002 Topps Traded.

Playing career: Steve Bechler pitched in three games for the Orioles in 2002. He was 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA.

Death: Bechler died of heatstroke in spring training of 2003. A bottle of Ephedra was found in his locker and traces of the weight-loss drug were found in his system during the autopsy, leading to a public outcry that forced the banning of the drug by the FDA. However, it was never conclusively proven that it was the Ephedra that killed him – there were many other factors involved. He was working out in extremely hot and humid weather without having eaten for two days. He was listed by the Orioles as 249 pounds at the time of death but the autopsy indicated that he was actually at 320 pounds – severely overweight. He also had both a personal and family history of heatstroke – Bechler had suffered it in high school, and a half-brother died from a heat-related aneurysm while playing baseball.

My memories: I had never heard of him when he died. After his death he became very famous, but you only ever heard that he died because of Ephedra. You never heard about all the other factors that contributed to his death.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Steve Bec, between Steve Becker, a photographer, and Steve Beck, a movie director. There do not appear to be any other prominent Steve Bechlers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Rod Beck.

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