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Steve Howe dead in accident


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Former major league pitcher Steve Howe killed in truck accident

Former major league pitcher Steve Howe killed in truck accidentBy BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer

April 28, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Steve Howe, the relief pitcher whose promising career was derailed by cocaine and alcohol abuse, died Friday when his pickup truck rolled over in Coachella, Calif. He was 48.

Howe was killed at 5:55 a.m. PDT, said Dalyn Backes of the Riverside County coroner's office. The accident occurred about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

was the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and helped them win the World Series the next year.

But for all of Howe's success on the field, the hard-throwing lefty was constantly troubled by addictions -- he was suspended seven times and became a symbol of the rampant cocaine problem that plagued baseball in the 1980s.

"Steve played for me for five years and I thought the world of him," former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda said. "I am truly sorry to hear about his passing and my deepest sympathies go out to his family."

There was a moment of silence at Yankee Stadium before New York played Toronto on Friday night. Howe played for the Yankees from 1991-1996.

Howe was 47-41 with 91 saves and a 3.03 ERA with the Dodgers, Minnesota, Texas and Yankees. His final season in the majors was 1996, and the Yankees released him in June.

Two days after the Yankees let him go, Howe was arrested at a Delta Airlines terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when a loaded .357 Magnum was detected inside his suitcase. He later pleaded guilty to gun possession and was placed on three years probation and given 150 hours of community service. Howe tried a comeback in 1997 with Sioux Falls of the independent Northern League. In August, he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Montana and charged with drunken driving.

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You could put all these guys-Gooden, Howe, Strawberry-in the same boat.

On one hand, no one holds a gun to your head to toke you first joint or snort that first line. But once they get into it, can't stop. I don't completely buy addiction as a disease, but I also understand and sympathize for these guys and especially the total hell they put the people who love them through.

I really hope to hear that Howe's autopsy shows it was nothing but an unfortunate accident; that Gooden comes out of jail and gets his act together; and Strawberry gets his life together too. And if that means neither Gooden nor Strawberry ever sees the inside of a ballpark for the rest of their lives for their own good, so be it.

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