In the weeks after Rod Beck died this summer, I kept thinking I’d write a brief obituary, talking about what a fun player he was to watch, about the way his arm dangled, about the way he got guys out for a couple of seasons there at the end despite having almost nothing left, about the period when he lived in–and welcomed strangers to–a trailer behind the minor-league ballpark that was his home stadium. I never got around to it.
Beck was a favorite, and I missed him when he retired. When he died, no one who knew him had anything but good to say about him as a person and a friend, but it seemed to be quietly assumed that his death had been the result of one of the addictions he had fought throughout his career.
Today, Amy K. Nelson has a piece at ESPN that tells the whole story of Beck’s last years, from the perspective of his friends and family. He comes out of it seeming even nicer and more thoughtful than I expected, but that only makes his death–and what his addiction did to his family–even sadder.