VandenHurk talks about the fatal stabbing of his friend
Orioles right-hander Rick VandenHurk woke up this morning in California to countless messages on his phone. He then spoke to his father, who told him the heartbreaking news.
VandenHurk’s friend and fellow Dutch countryman, Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, was found stabbed to death in the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, this morning. Halman’s 22-year-old brother has been arrested, according to Dutch police.
“I looked at my phone and couldn’t believe all the messages and phone calls I had,” VandenHurk, 26, said. “My dad had called me right away. He brought me the news. I have no words. I can’t believe it.”
VandenHurk and Halman were together earlier this month as part of a baseball instruction tour throughout Europe that VandenHurk and his father have organized for two offseasons. VandenHurk and Halman, along with Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder and several others, visited Amsterdam, Rome and Prague, teaching baseball to kids.
“I came back on Nov. 13, that whole week before I was with him every hour of the day,” VandenHurk said. “I literally spent almost every minute of every day with him. We were close. We’d go out to dinner, we’d see the sights and go out at night. We shared a lot with each other.”
Halman and VandenHurk had been friends since they were 7 years old, playing baseball with and against each other – and then pulling for each other to make the majors and stick there.
“We always shared the same passion for the big leagues. When we both signed, we kept in touch with each other. We’d see each other in the offseason and tried to keep in touch during the season,” he said. “Obviously, I was very happy for him when he made it to the big leagues.”
Halman, who batted .207 in 44 games over parts of two seasons with the Mariners, had prodigious power. He hit 33 homers in 112 games with Triple-A Tacoma in 2010. But VandenHurk will remember his buddy more for his big personality.
“He was always joking around, keeping you loose. He had a big passion for baseball and he really wanted to succeed,” VandenHurk said. “He was just a great guy. That something like this has happened, I can’t describe it. It really is unbelievable.”