Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why Are So Many 1990's Cub Pitchers Dying Young?

As someone who tries to keep up-to-date on the latest passings, particularly in the baseball world, I was saddened to hear about the death of Frank Castillo earlier this year. He was a solid pitcher for the Cubs right around the time I began following baseball regularly, and his near no-hitter against the Cardinals in 1995 was perhaps my fondest memory of him.

Most unfortunately, Castillo's death made him the sixth Cub pitcher from the 1990's to die. He's been preceded in death by the following five:

Rod Beck (June 23, 2007, age 38, suspected cocaine overdose)
Geremi Gonzalez (May 25, 2008, age 33, struck by lightning)
Kevin Foster (October 11, 2008, age 39, renal cancer)
Dave Smith (December 17, 2008, age 53, heart attack)
Jessie Hollins (July 9, 2009, age 39, drowning)

Eerie that those first five were within a 25-month span. And now we can add:

Frank Castillo (July 28, 2013, age 44, drowning)

I don't believe any other team has lost this many players at the same position from the decade of the 1990's. This is mostly just bad luck, of course, but for those of us who remember these guys, it hits home. Their participation on the field is still fresh in our memories, and it's too soon for us to say goodbye to them. Hopefully, this outlier will revert to the mean and the rest of the Cubbie mound crew will stick around for a while.

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