Paying their respects…

Greg’s funeral is set for Tuesday and there was a memorial service yesterday.
Shannon got some first hand accounts that she shares here

Early Tuesday morning Greg Halman will be laid to rest in Driehuis, about five minutes from the town of Haarlem where he grew up. Along with team representatives Bob Engle, Wayne Norton and Peter Van Dalen teammates Mike Carp, Alex Liddi, Dan Cortes and Matt Mangini have made the trip and will attend the funeral services.

Included in Shannon’s post is the copy from a truly heart-breaking blog entry by a father about how he broke the news of Greg’s death to his son, Luuk, who followed Greg’s career, moment-by-moment and looked up to Greg – his “dream friend”.
It is indeed heart-warming to discover the huge impact Greg had on youth baseball in Holland, as Jim Caple shares here

Most everyone else who commented on Monday mentioned Halman’s ever-present smile, and I vividly recall it as well. Halman was friendly and could communicate with just about anyone — he spoke five languages, and he pretty much needed to. He played all over the world before he ever played in the United States. Touring with various Dutch teams, he played baseball in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Italy. But he always knew the country where he wanted his career to finish.

“Learning about the United States and the major leagues and the minors and seeing older guys go over there, that’s the only thing I wanted to do. That was the only thing I strived for,” Halman told me one evening in the Mariners dugout. “Even being from Holland. I had an idea how hard I had to work and what I had to do. And to be able to come to the U.S. and play, I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work.”

Halman told me that, “Coming from Holland, you haven’t played that large amount of baseball yet before you come over here. The first couple years for me was really about adapting and getting to know baseball and getting to know myself as a player before I was even close to playing in the major leagues. The guys from Holland have to realize it’s not going to come overnight.”

He told me he wanted to inspire other Dutch players and grow the game in Europe. And earlier this month he was doing exactly that while with Rick VandenHurk’s European Big League Tour, along with several other players such as Prince Fielder. Johnson said he met recently with several people who had seen the tour when it passed through Prague.

“Several people commented to me how impressed they were with how enthusiastic and personal Greg was with the kids,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t the biggest name in the lineup that day, but his presence and charisma dominated yet another piece of real estate.
“I’d imagine that Greg Halman’s impact on me was far greater than my impact on him. That is what big leaguers do, they make an impact, and Greg Halman was a big leaguer.”

Goodbye, Greg.  You deserved SO much more time but, hopefully, your family can take some comfort in knowing that you lived your dream, inspired young athletes in your homeland and beyond, and became a great role-model in your short, sweet time on this earth.

Funeral for Greg Halman draws 2000….

“It was really special,” Van Dalen said. “We had to walk up a bit of a hill to get to the service and when you looked back down again, you could see all the people lined up ready to come and listen as well. It showed you just how important he was to so many people.”

Huizinga agreed, saying Halman’s legacy in the Netherlands is only fully being realized after his death.
“You can’t imagine the loss here,” he said. “Nobody, until now, realized what a big guy he was. Baseball is a small sport in Holland and in a way, he brought the entire Dutch baseball community together. He will be greatly missed.”

"Our hearts are broken. Mine’s in pieces."

Pedro Grifol on Greg Halman | Larry Stone

“Character-wise and presence, I don’t think there’s any better. His presence in the clubhouse, everyone knows this guy was somebody. Character-wise, guys who knew him like I did and the coaches did, loved him. If you knew him, you loved him. (Jose) Castro ( a Mariners hitting instructor who is with Grifol in Venezuela) feels same way. We sent him to extended spring one year and had Castro to work wth him. I remeber seeing them working together and then leave together in a car. If you knew him the way we did, you loved him. You knew he was somebody. It’s a huge loss for the organization and it breaks my heart.”

(Recalling when Hansen flew to Amsterdam to meet with Halman and his family). “He had a difficult year in Double-A, and we needed to get some work done. He was a ittle frustrated in the year he had. We just wanted to get everyone on the same page, meaning us as an organization, him, his famly. We wanted everyone to understand, No. 1, the talent he had, and two, that everyone cared for him and wanted him to continue to work and not get frustrated with just a bad year. He had a couple of those, and fought through those together as an organization. That’s what it was for. Let’s get to meet his family and sit with them, and let them know we’re in this together; this could be something special. He has the talent to do a lot of special things.

“It was probably the best thing we did as an organzation, and the best thing for him. he knew, and everyone knew, his mom and dad, when Roger went and stayed five days, we’re in this together and trust us. That’s what happened. It elevated the trust not only him, but his family, had in us. For us, it gave us that reassurance we were all in this together, him, us, his family, and we were moving forward, and everyone was moving in the right direction. That’s what player development is about, what good organizations do. Do whatever it takes to make sure these type of talents continue to develop.”

Remembering Greg…

Mariners statement

SEATTLE, Wash. — The Seattle Mariners Baseball Club issued the following statement today on the sudden and tragic death of outfielder Greg Halman:“The Mariners family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Greg Halman,” said Mariners Chairman Howard Lincoln, President Chuck Armstrong and General Manager Jack Zduriencikon behalf of entire Mariners organization. “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.”

Tweets are coming in fast and furious from those who knew Greg…

 Larry LaRue A portrait of  OF Greg Halman, who will be missed by all who knew him. 

 Matt Pitman Saddened, sickened, heart broken over death of Greg Halman. One of the happiest, jovial, contagious personalities I’ve been around.

 Seattle Mariners Eric Wedge: “I only knew Greg for a brief time, but I feel lucky that I had the chance to get to know him. HHe was a fine young man with a bright future. Greg had a tremendous energy about him, both on and off the field, that I loved. This is just tragic. That’s all I can think, that this is so tragic and sad.”

 Shannon Drayer Hard to find words. Greg was a sweet, sweet kid who had a love for life and the world around him. Prayers to his family and the Mariners.

 Larry Stone Terrible, terrible news about Greg Halman. I’m still in shock.

 Casper Wells Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names ~proverb. I won’t forget you brother. Rest in peace Greg.

 Mike Carp Hard to process such a tragedy. Thoughts and prayers are with the Halman and Mariners Family Right now. You’ll be missed Brother Love You

 Shawn Kelley Lost a great guy today! RIP Greg! I’ll miss u

 Christian Caple Oh, no. RIP Greg Halman. Damn it. Just an all around good dude. Terrible, terrible news.

 Tacoma Rainiers Sad news today about the passing of outfielder Greg Halman. Our thoughts are with Greg’s family and friends during this tragic time.

 Everett AquaSox We are so sad for the tragic loss of Greg Halman, part of the AquaSox family. Our thoughts are with his friends, family & teammates.

 Mike Curto Really tough to swallow this Greg Halman news. One of our top players & a good guy.

 Ken Rosenthal Statement from Greg Halman’s agent, Mike Nicotera: “We are shocked and incredibly saddened by the news this morning. MORE  

 Ken Rosenthal “Hopefully in time we will all be able to come to terms with the tragic loss of such a passionate, good hearted, generous…MORE 

 Ken Rosenthal and faithful young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Greg’s family, friends and loved ones. This hurts.”  

 Ryan Rowland-Smith Just heard the shocking news about Halman, so sad, can’t imagine what his family is feeling! RIP Greg

 Ryan Divish Greg Halman was one of the friendliest, most accommodating players I’ve been around. Just a great kid. Rest in peace.

 Larry Stone Tacoma manager Daren Brown on Greg Halman: “It’s really tough to even think about. He was a 24-year-old with everything ahead of him. I thought he was close to putting it all together. “

Tacoma Rainiers Team President Aaron Artman released the following statement:  Greg was a huge part of the Rainiers during his time here in Tacoma, and played a pivotal role — on the field — in our run to the 2010 Pacific Coast League Championship. … He had a huge smile on his face, every day, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He just had a way about him that made our front office staff and fans see a guy who clearly loved what he was doing. … We miss Greg already, and our prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and the Mariners organization.”

Halman, who played for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, had returned home this offseason to prepare for the 2012 season. He participated in several baseball camps for children two weeks ago that were organized by Orioles pitcher Rick Van den Hurk, a fellow Netherlands native. The camps were part of the European Big League Tour.

from Mike Curto | Tacoma Rainiers Broadcaster
(some great links within to various other remembrances of Greg)

Brendan Ryan remembers Greg | Shannon’s blog

Ryan may have been the biggest Mariners fan on the Mariners team. He was so enthusiastic about the younger players on the team and throughout the year spoke glowingly of Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley and Greg Halman.“I was such an advocate, that guy was a specimen,” he said of Halman’s athletic talent. “Then you see his tools and think when he figures it out he could be a special, special player.
“The finesse, the action, all good action, he looked like he was developing a real good approach at the plate going to right-center. And some easy pop. He could run like a deer. I was really pulling for him. I really believed that he could be somebody with a chance to be up to great maybe. With those tools?”
It was the person, however, that stood out even more to Ryan than the athlete.
“I don’t think people got to know him well enough,” he said. “I feel privileged to have gotten to know him. I loved his sense of humor. He was a special guy who could talk some trash, which is always welcome in the clubhouse, but he was a rare breed who could take it as well as he could dish it. That earned my respect.”

R.I.P. Greg Halman

It is not often that a story of a Seattle Mariner hits the regular news wire prior to any of the sports pages but, that is the case today and, it is shocking and sad news…

Greg Halman stabbed to death |

M’s outfielder, Greg Halman stabbed to death |

According to the story so far, Greg’s brother has been arrested.  Unbelievable.

Greg may have never been a star -he struggled in his short time with the M’s last season after lighting up in AAA Tacoma in 2010- but, he played all out an with pure joy and love of the game.  In many ways, his demeanor and stature and even his stance, reminded me of a young Alex Rodriguez.

Sad, sad, sad.