Friday, June 29, 2007

Rod Beck

He was a star of Major league baseball, a ferocious pitcher, a supporter of Israel, and seemingly, a truly decent guy, although he was plagued with human frailty.

A three-time All-Star who saved 286 games, Beck was known for his bushy mustache and gregarious personality. His family and friends remembered him as an intimidating competitor who was a soft touch away from the field - and as a man who devoted time and money to helping children with AIDS.

"At his core, he was determination," his wife, Stacey, said in remarks during the service. "He never quit. That doesn't mean he never failed. He just kept trying."

A portrait of Beck, his hair flapping as he fired a pitch in a Giants uniform, was placed above the closed casket.

The Giants plan to honor Stacey and Rod Beck at their annual "Until There's a Cure Day" event, scheduled for July 27 at AT&T Park. The event raises funds for AIDS education and research.

"He stepped up and gave a face to those with AIDS," Stacey said. "He hugged and kissed children others were afraid to touch. He convinced others to do the same. He helped eradicate shame and ignorance."

Beck was found dead in his northeast Phoenix home Saturday. He was 38. He is survived by Stacey and their two daughters.

G-d Bless Rod Beck and his family. He was the baseball equivalent of a warrior; willing to do what it takes to win.

We need more men like him.