Sunday, May 07, 2006

Steve Howe

Steven Roy Howe's life was filled with bitter irony.

He was one of baseball's top relief pitchers. Yet, he never seemed to get any relief away from the game.

He always appeared to be in control on the baseball diamond, but was completely out of control off it.

He registered saves for a living, but couldn't save his own life.

Howe's life was also marked by adversity and tragedy.

His problems were well publicized.

He was slapped with a record seven drug related suspensions by Major League Baseball, including a lifetime ban by Comissioner Fay Vincent that was later overturned by an arbitrator.

He also had several mishaps and run-ins with the law. In 1992 he pled guilty to a charge of attempting to purchase cocaine, and in 1996 he pled guilty to a gun possession charge. In 1997 a drunk driving case was filed against him, but was later dismissed.

And, like all good relief pitchers, Howe bounced back after each life setback seemingly unfazed, undaunted. He appeared to be uneffected by life's obstacles or disappointments.

It looked like Howe was intent on living his life as if he had just strolled onto the mound in the ninth inning with no outs and the tying and winning runs in scoring position, and he was determined not to let anyone see him sweat.

Strangely, he seemed to need to challenge life.

However, on April 29, 2006, Howe got himself into a jam that he was not able to overcome. During the early morning hours, his truck flipped over on a highway and he was partially ejected.

The closer's life had finally come to a sad and tragic close. Howe died at the scene. He was 48 years old.

Former Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia summed up Howe's life best. "He was extremely talented, very confident on the mound and had an incredible arm," Scioscia told the press. "Obviously, he didn't reach his potential because of other things that crept into his life."

A native of Pontiac, Michigan, Howe was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 1979 amateur draft. He played in the big leagues for 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, and the New York Yankees. He finished his career with a 47-41 record, 91 saves and a 3.03 earned run average in 497 games.

As a Dodger, Howe had several triumphs. He was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1980, closed out the World Series against the New York Yankees in 1981, and was an all-star the following season.

[1] Walker, Ben. "Former Major League Pitcher Steve Howe Killed in Truck Accident.", April 29, 2006.


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