Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, who played in Tacoma each of the past two seasons, was stabbed to death early Monday in his Netherlands home - and his younger brother, Jason, was arrested for the murder.
Halman was 24, and beyond his athletic abilities was popular with teammates, a smiling player who showed power and grace in working his way through the Mariners farm system.
"I got a call this morning that you never want to get," Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. "It stunned me, it's just unbelievable. I know he was close to his family, and when the season ended this year Greg talked about wanting to get back home and spend time with them.
"Greg had a lot of of tools physically, a lot of ability, but that big smile in the clubhouse is what you think of with Greg. He had fun playing the game."
Dutch reports said police were called to a home and found Halman bleeding and unconcious, and were unable to revive him.
The Mariners issued a statement, attributing it to team CEO Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Jack Zduriencik: “Greg was a part of our organization since he was 16 and we saw him grow into a passionate young man and talented baseball player. He had an infectious smile that would greet you in the clubhouse, and he was a tremendous teammate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg’s family.”
Halman had been taking part in a Big-League tour of Europe in recent weeks, which included clinics for youngsters conducted by Prince Fielder, Adam Jones and Halman. A strong-armed, speedy oufielder capable of playing center field, Halman was expected to contend for a reserve role on the 2012 Seattle roster.
A part of the Mariners organization since 2004, Halman played with Seattle in 2010 and 2011.
“Greg was always smiling, always enjoying himself,” teammate Dustin Ackley said. “I spent a lot of time with him the past two years and he didn’t take anything for granted. He always had time to talk to you.”