Sunday, April 29, 2007
For some reason, I still remember when Josh Hancock pitched for the Boston Red Sox.
He made his major league debut for the team in September 2002, a late-season call-up for a team that disappointed its fans by missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Given the unimpressive nature of his stat line that year (0-1, 3.68 in three games) it's hard to see why he was so memorable. The only thing I can come up with is that as a homegrown Sox pitching prospect, his reputation was hyped up to a point beyond his talent level at the time, and I eagerly drank the Kool-Aid (I listened to a lot of WEEI at the time).
Hancock's trade to Philadelphia three months later was perplexing: wasn't this a kid who was supposed to become a key member of the pitching staff in 2003 and beyond? Didn't they get the wrong Giambi in return?
Hancock slid from Boston to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Cincinnati, and (finally) Cincinnati to St. Louis, where he became a key member of the Cardinals team that won the World Series. He appeared in 62 games, one of four different relievers on the team to do so, helping pick up the slack from a starting rotation that only featured three starters with more than 100 innings pitched.
I was sad to see the news on ESPN this morning that the 29-year-old pitcher had been killed in a car accident in St. Louis earlier in the day. Details are sparse right now, but a statement is expected from the team and St. Louis Police Department at 3 o'clock Central time that should shed more light on the situation.
Hancock is the second active Cardinal to pass away in mid-season in the last five years. Pitcher Darryl Kile died in his Chicago hotel room in 2002; the cause of death was later attributed to an almost complete blockage in his coronary artery.
I hope everyone's thoughts are with Josh Hancock's family and the St. Louis Cardinals. The team's Sunday night game against the Chicago Cubs has been postponed.
(One relatively minor thing that really bothers me: Yahoo! Sports doesn't have the foresight to alter the text that appears on the bottom of every news article in cases like this. It reads, "Use what you learned in this article to dominate at Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball '07". The inclusion is mildy amusing in some cases, such as when the accompanying article has nothing to do with baseball, but it's not appropriate for it to be there now.)