This morning I got the text from ESPN alerts that brought back a memory to the front of my baseball brain bank.
Mariners Outfielder Gregory Halman has been stabbed to death in the Netherlands. His brother was arrested as a lead suspect. Halman was just 24 years old, and his brother 22.
If you blinked you might have missed Halman’s short stay in the baseball fraternity. He played just 44 career games beginning September 23, 2010. He homered only twice–off Brett Cecil and Rich Thompson. His first league hit was a double off C.J. Wilson.
I never had the opportunity to see Halman play, but he was listed as the #1 prospect in the Mariners organization as early as 2009.
He was hardly a ‘nobody’, but he didn’t have time to do the great things in the sport he was probably going to do. He didn’t have time to become a household name in fantasy baseball drafts and end up hitting 2nd in the Seattle order behind Ichiro or put together the 15 game hit streaks and gain notoriety of fans around baseball.
Immediately my mind shifts to another file that’s collected some dust in my baseball brain cabinet. His name is Dernell Stenson, and on August 17th, 2003 I attended a game with my family in which he hit his first big league home run.
He had a nice, solid 6 foot 3 build–and was a corner outfielder who was just 25 years old. I remember clearly saying to my uncle that the guy had some big time upside after he hit a monster home run to the opposite power alley. And I truly feel he would have. I declared that day that Dernell Stenson was going to be ‘my guy’, and that the next season he would make Adam Dunn or Austin Kearns expendable.
By November 5th, 2003 Dernell Stenson was brutally murdered in his driveway by several men. He only played in 37 big league games. Like Halman, it was a career and life cut short.
For whatever the reason was, these men did not have the time to deliver on a lot of promise because of unfortunate acts that took place off the field. To someone out there who was at that game this year when Halman homered off Brett Cecil–he was some kid’s Dernell Stenson. He was some kid’s lost hope. We never got the time to know them.
It’s very sad, and my prayers and thoughts go out to the family of Halman’s. Hopefully he’s up there in baseball Heaven getting a couple line drive doubles off the wall off Don Drysdale or Cory Lidle.