Fan grief follows stabbing death of Seattle Mariners' Greg Halman
The news that Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death in the Netherlands early Monday -- possibly at the hands of his brother -- triggered an outpouring of grief among fans.
Halman, 24, was known for his scrappy climb through the minor leagues and his persistence when he was called up to the majors last year. Among the comments on the team's official page:
"I still remember that absolutely sick catch you made. I will never forget it. You were one of the young guys I absolutely loved to watch. I know as fans we were critiquing your statistics and your performance, but lord did we love the energy and the life you brought to your game....Thank you for living our dreams, and thank you for everything. We'll miss you."
An initial statement from the Rotterdam police said little -- “A 24-year-old died this morning in a stabbing and we have arrested the 22-year-old brother of the victim” -- in keeping with that country's privacy laws.
But a spokeswoman was more forthcoming. Rotterdam police spokeswoman Patricia Wessels told the Associated Press that police were called to a home in the port city in the early hours of the morning and found Halman bleeding from his wounds. Emergency workers were unable to save him, she said.
"It will take some time to figure out what exactly happened," she added.
The story continues to unfold and a statement from the team was expected Monday morning.
"We are shocked and incredibly saddened by the news this morning," Halman's agent, Greg Nicotera, said in a statement released to MLB.com. He called Halman a "passionate, good-hearted, generous and faithful young man" before concluding: "This hurts."
Halman hit .230 in 87 at-bats with two home runs and six RBIs for the Mariners last season, according to MLB.com. He was on the Mariners' 40-man roster and regarded as a challenger for a position in left field or as a backup to center fielder Franklin Gutierrez.
The Dutchman also helped his native Netherlands win the 2007 European Baseball Championship and was Seattle's minor league player of the year in 2008.
To many in Europe, however, Halman was the face of Major League Baseball: He coached clinics for kids with major league dreams, and was doing so as recently as two weeks ago in the Netherlands.
Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Assn., noted as much in his statement to MLB.com: "Greg was passionate about the game of baseball and generously gave of himself to share his passion with others in an attempt to help grow the sport's popularity across Europe. He will be sorely missed."
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Photo: A 2010 photo of Greg Halman Credit: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press