Brad Halsey, a former major league pitcher who also played for the Trenton Thunder and Long Island Ducks, died Friday in a recreational climbing accident, according to a USA Today report. No details about Halsey’s death have been officially made public – the news was initially shared by his former agent.
Halsey, 33, began his career in the New York Yankees organization and played for the Trenton Thunder in 2003 as a prospect. He later returned to the team at the end of his professional career in 2011 after a stint in indy baseball that included a season with the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks in 2009.
One of Halsey’s claims to fame was being traded for Randy Johnson in 2005. Halsey was also the pitcher who surrendered Barry Bonds 714th career home run in 2006, which tied the San Francisco Giants’ slugger with Babe Ruth‘s career mark.
Halsey pitched in 88 major league games for the Yankees, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Oakland Athletics between 2004 and 2006. His career record was 14-19 with a 4.84 ERA.
While Halsey appeared on over 200 different baseball cards, I only have two in my collection: one from Upper Deck SP Prospects from 2004 and one from the Topps flagship set in 2006.
Baseball season is now just nine days away, at least for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. At Dodgers Blue Heaven, check out some photos showing the transformation of Sydney Cricket Ground into a baseball diamond for the two teams’ Opening Day series in Australia.
In the New York Times, Peter Kerasotis shares some of Julia Ruth Stevens‘ memories of her father, Babe Ruth. The most interesting part is Stevens’ theory that Ruth was prevented from becoming a major league manager because he would have integrated baseball more than a decade before Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson.
Finally, at 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball, bloggers James Preller and Michael Geus discuss when the Mets should trade Matt Harvey. (If the Mets are adopting the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ payroll, I hope they do adopt their business model too. I’d hate to see a player like Harvey was in 2013 traded away, but I do not want to see a repeat of how the Jose Reyes situation played out for any reason.)
And going off-topic for a couple of minutes, here’s a Vanity Fair video of some of the stars of HBO’s Game of Thrones offering their thoughts on which character should rule the Seven Kingdoms:
New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson‘s most controversial free agent signing this winter was outfielder Chris Young.
Young, 30, was an All-Star for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 when he hit .257 with 27 home runs and 91 RBI in 156 games. Since then, his performance has steadily declined.
In a part-time role with the Oakland Athletics last year, Young hit .200 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 107 games, striking out 93 times in 375 plate appearances. That’s not really the kind of year to have right before you enter free agency, but Young did ok for himself.
Mets fans have to hope Young has a year more like 2010 than 2013 in order to justify Alderson’s decision to give him a $7.5 million contract.
I was able to pick up a certified autograph baseball card for my collection for $5 shipped from an eBay dealer back in December. It’s from the short-lived Topps 206 brand, which was launched in 2002 and discontinued after 2010, releasing just three sets.
Perhaps due to the size of the space for an autograph on the card, Young’s signature is little more than his initials. Still, they are written in cursive and recognizable – something we probably shouldn’t expect from future generations of athletes.
Young appears on over 100 different certified autograph baseball cards released by Topps and Upper Deck during his career. Maybe Topps will include one that shows him in a Mets uniform in a set later this year.