Two months ago I had the opportunity to meet St.Louis relief pitcher Josh Hancock and my first impression was that he was an exceptionally gracious individual who took nothing for granted.
I am deeply saddened to learn that he was killed in a car accident early Sunday morning and that I will not have the distinguished honor of meeting him again. I might have known him for five minutes, but he will forever leave me with a positive lasting impression.
On a picture perfect day in Jupiter, Florida Josh pulled up to the railing where the fans wait for autographs and spoke to us for several minutes. I distinctly remember him driving the same vehicle, a 2007 Ford Explorer, that was involved in his fatal crash Sunday when he smacked in to a tow truck on the highway. Now, I will value my signature from him with much greater significance.
The fact that Hancock was a member of the Cardinals brings back memories to when former Cards pitcher Darryl Kyle died just less than five-years ago in a hotel room before a game against the Cubs. Additionally, Hancock is the second baseball player and pitcher for that matter to pass away in the last six and a half months. Former Yankee Cory Lidle passed away last October in a plane crash.
I'm curious to wonder if it's just pure luck that two current and healthy players passed away recently or is something not being done by MLB to fully protect their players. I hope that this is not a trend that will continue to occur.
This incident really puts the value of a persons life in perspective because we realize how precious every moment we spend with them is. It also demonstrates that a sports figure such as Hancock is not super human and is like every other person in the world. His family and teammates will now enter a long grieving process and they will unfortunately never be able to see their good friend again.
Cardinals principal owner Bill Dewitt Jr. put it best when he said ''the pain our organization feels today is unspeakable.''
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Posted by David Kaye at 7:51 PM