Former Cubs reliever Rod Beck dead at 38

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Former Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Rod Beck was found dead in his home outside of Phoenix Saturday, June 23. At press time, his cause of death was still under investigation and may not be known for several days.

In 1998, while pitching for the Cubs, Beck led the majors with 51 saves. He was instrumental in helping Chicago win the National League Wild Card that season. Following that stellar season, Beck was never quite the same. He only managed 46 combined saves in his final five seasons. His career record was 38-45 in 704 games with 286 saves.

Cubs fans may remember back in 2003, Beck was attempting to work his way back to the majors after a two-year absence. He was pitching for the Cubs’ AAA affiliate in Iowa. During that time, he lived in his motor home in the parking lot of the park. After the games, fans would often stop by for an autograph, and Beck would invite them to join him for a beer. He eventually did make his way back to the “show.” He finished his career in 2004 as a member of the San Diego Padres.

Beck was 38 years old and is survived by a wife and two children.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the June 27-July 4, issue

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