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.”
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.
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.”