Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Brad Halsey Story Gives Me Goosebumps

I was on my way to get some lunch on Wednesday when my good friend Robert Casey of Bleeding Yankees Blue sent me a text telling me that if I read just one thing today make it the USA Today article about the life and death of Brad Halsey. I was skeptical at first because the guy died on Halloween in an accidental rock climbing incident, there were no stories or speculation of foul play, drug use etc. I thought it was case closed on a tragic event in a too short life until I read THIS ARTICLE that gave me absolute goosebumps reading it. I will post an excerpt here and encourage you all to click the link HERE to give them some views and read the rest of the article. It's long and it's tragic but the read is amazing.

Accident or suicide?


No cuts or scratches. No sign of a struggle. No evidence of homicide, the detective concluded. Both legs looked broken, he noted, likely caused by the impact of a fall. Probably suicide, the detective said he thought early that Halloween afternoon.

Then Guerrero checked Halsey's black Honda parked nearby. On the passenger's seat he found a baseball glove, a baseball and a flier advertising pitching lessons Halsey was offering. No suicide note.

A week later, with an autopsy showing Halsey died from blunt force injuries, Guerrero told the captain of investigations at the Comal County Sheriff's Office he thought Halsey likely died in an accidental fall. Yet the detective says he still wonders, and the case remains open pending the completion of a toxicology report.

Like his death, Halsey's life was filled with questions and doubt. Although he had a journeyman career — playing for three major league organizations and two independent teams in a decade — Halsey packed memorable moments into his 286 1/3 innings as a big-leaguer.

He emerged from Westfield High School in Houston and junior college obscurity to be one of the top pitchers for a University of Texas team that won the 2002 College World Series. Two years later he was pitching for the New York Yankees.

He won his first career start by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Less than two weeks after that, Halsey was on the mound at old Yankee Stadium and starting the game against the Boston Red Sox in which Derek Jeter famously made "The Dive" into the stands after catching a foul ball. And in 2006, while pitching for the Oakland Athletics, Halsey gave up Barry Bonds' 714th home run, tying the slugger with Babe Ruth for second on the all-time list.

Public records and interviews with former coaches, teammates and friends show Halsey was quiet, private, quirky, smart and witty. But his behavior changed as he tried to hang on to a fading baseball career and fell victim to prescription and recreational drug abuse.

Less than four months ago, police found Halsey walking chest-deep in the nearby Comal River and identifying himself as Lucifer. Officers had responded to a call about a man who fit Halsey's description throwing rocks at people floating by on inner tubes and talking to people no one else could see.

Halsey said he was prepared to fight "Mitch," but witnesses said they saw no other man. After Halsey exited the river and turned unruly, police put him in shackles and drove him to an area hospital for evaluation. The police report noted Halsey had mental problems due to drug use.

A few months earlier, according to two men who spent time with the former pitcher in the last months of his life, Halsey told them he had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The men also said Halsey made an outrageous statement, claiming he was on cocaine and other drugs when he gave up Bonds' historic home run and had spent much of the $1 million he made during his baseball career on drugs.

"He always seemed like he was running from something," said James Pankey, an instructional coach in the San Antonio area who along with an acquaintance, Tripp Deason, detailed Halsey's alleged disclosures.

Halsey's mother said the psychiatric diagnoses were "not accurate" but offered no further comment. Former teammates, including Jason Kendall, the A's catcher when Bonds hit the home run, said they saw no evidence Halsey used drugs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)