Greg Halman, who hit .230 in 35 games for the 2011 Mariners, was stabbled to death early Monday in The Hague, Netherlands, and his brother was arrested as a suspect, according to Dutch police.
Patricia Wessels, a spokeswoman for Rotterdam police, said authorities were called to a home in the port city in the early hours of the morning, where they found Halman bleeding from a stab wound. Paramedics could not revive Halman.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Greg Halman,” the Mariners said in a statement. “Greg was passionate about the game of baseball and generously gave of himself to share his passion with others in an attempt to help grow the sport’s popularity across Europe. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg’s family, his teammates, the Mariners organization and his many friends and fans throughout Europe and America.”
Halman had been in Europe this month as part of the European Big League Tour, an initiative organized by Baltimore Orioles pitcher Rick Van den Hurk in which major leaguers gave clinics to children. Van den Hurk is also Dutch.
In a statement, Rainiers team president Aaron Artman said, 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. But far more important than what he did on the field, was his personality off the field.
“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.
“He was often first to raise his hand when the Tacoma community needed him, and in particular, spent a good deal of time visiting hospitalized children, which speaks to his character.”
An outfielder, Halman signed with the Mariners on June 26, 2004, as a non-drafted free agent. Until late in 2010, Halman had played his entire career in the Seattle organization: Arizona Mariners (2005), Everett (2006), Wisconsin, Everett (2007), High Desert, West Tennessee (2008-09) and Tacoma (2010-11).
In 2009, Halman represented The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
Halman made his major league debut on Sept. 23, 2010 and appeared in nine games that season. Last season in 87 at bats, his .230 average included two home runs.
Halman had his two best games for the Mariners on June 5-6, when he went 3-for-4 in a 9-6 Seattle win over Tampa Bay, and 3-for-3 in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox (both at Safeco Field).
Halman hit his first big league home run June 15 off Rich Thompson of the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.
Halman appeared in 40 games for the 2011 Tacoma Rainiers, hitting .299 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.