Players, coaches remember former Cub Beck fondly at funeral

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Former San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker and current manager Bruce Bochy were among the estimated 200 people who attended the funeral Thursday for former major league pitcher Rod Beck.

Giants owner Peter Magowan and general manager Brian Sabean also attended the services at a Scottsdale mortuary.

A three-time All-Star who saved 286 games, Beck was known for his bushy mustache and gregarious personality. His family and friends remembered him as an intimidating competitor who was a soft touch away from the field — and as a man who devoted time and money to helping children with AIDS.

“At his core, he was determination,” his wife, Stacey, said in remarks during the service. “He never quit. That doesn’t mean he never failed. He just kept trying.”

A portrait of Beck, his hair flapping as he fired a pitch in a Giants uniform, was placed above the closed casket.

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    The Giants plan to honor Stacey and Rod Beck at their annual “Until There’s a Cure Day” event, scheduled for July 27 at AT&T; Park. The event raises funds for AIDS education and research.

    “He stepped up and gave a face to those with AIDS,” Stacey said. “He hugged and kissed children others were afraid to touch. He convinced others to do the same. He helped eradicate shame and ignorance.”

    Nicknamed “Shooter” and well-known for his fondness of country music, cowboy boots and cigarettes, Beck pitched for the Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox before finishing his career with the San Diego Padres in 2004.

    Baseball people flocked to Beck’s funeral on a blistering summer day. Major League Baseball was represented by Phoenix-based vice president Laurel Prieb.

    Former teammate Trevor Hoffman, who served as a pallbearer, said he hadn’t spoken to Beck in about a year. He remembered Beck as a “very simple man” who enjoyed working on car engines and taking long rides into the desert.

    “It was hard to get through that exterior of what he looked like, that menacing look, but it took about a minute and a half to realize that’s all it was,” Hoffman said. “There was never really a hidden agenda with Rodney. It was all kind of what you see is what you get.”

    Bochy remembered Beck as being friendly and accommodating to teammates, fans and the media. And he said the turnout at the funeral, which was limited to friends and family, said a lot about Beck.

    “We all knew about the great pitching talent he had,” Bochy said. “It showed today what a great teammate he was.”

    Beck was found dead in his northeast Phoenix home Saturday. Police don’t suspect foul play, and the medical examiner is awaiting results of toxicology tests to establish a cause of death. He was 38 and is survived by Stacey and their two daughters.