Most have heard the bad news, former Giant All Star Rod Beck has passed. The mustache, the hair, and the dangling swinging arm were all characteristics of Beck who was a 3 time All Star with the Giants. While with the Giants, Beck was a rock, a player that the manager could always go to when he needed the help. During the Giants sweet but sour 1993 season, one in which they won over 100 games but failed to make the playoffs, Beck saved 48 games with a minuscule 2.16 ERA.
Beck will always have a place in my heart. When I first got into Giants baseball the names that I knew and loved the most went something like this: Clark, Williams, Thompson, Beck, Burkett, and Swift. As a kid, nothing was better than trying to imitate your favorite players. That sweet Clark swing, complete with a high elbow on the follow through. Running the bases quickly when you hit a homer in your backyard, just like Williams would have done. And the arm swinging intensity of Rod Beck when you were tossing wiffle balls to your friends. To say that imitation is the purest form of flattery, is an understatement.
I was there in ’97 when the Giants clinched agaist the Padres with Beck on the mound. I had never heard Candlestick so loud before. The energy that was in the stadium was out of this world. What I always liked the most about Beck was that he never had the best stuff but he had the intensity and the mindset to close out games. His entire appearance was a fabrication, a mean looking dude, with less than stellar stuff. It didn’t matter if his fastball was hitting 90 mph or if it was hitting 80 mph on the gun, Beck was going to gut it out for the save.
In todays game with millionaire athletes that hardly care for the fans, Beck seems oddly out of place. Can you imagine A-Rod hanging out with fans in a RV? Or even Barry Bonds? Won’t happen. Beck was a throwback, a gamer, the average joe living the dream, a fan friendly ball player that was not only approachable, but a genuinely nice guy. If it’s one thing that baseball can use more of, it’s a million more Rod Beck’s.
Rest in Peace Shooter.