I don’t even feel right referring to Greg as a baseball player. Obviously he was a baseball player, and that was how we knew him, but I don’t feel right giving him that label, that identity. Still, while “baseball player” wasn’t Greg Halman’s full identity, it was a part of it, so it’s worth noting how much Halman achieved, and what he came to represent. He wasn’t just a Mariners prospect on the brink of a big league career. He was the first Dutch-born, Dutch-raised, and Dutch-developed player in Major League history, and from the bottom of Geoff Baker’s piece:
[Coach] Chlup said Halman was surprised that so many fans in the Czech Republic seemed to know who he was. Other than [Prince] Fielder, Chlup said, Halman got the loudest reception of any player introduced to the crowds.
“He knew that, for a lot of Dutch kids, he was the one who got it done.”
Halman was one of the faces of European baseball. In one sense, he was trying to make it. In another sense, he already had…
Greg Halman was born in Haarlem in 1987. He learned four languages. He graduated from college. He signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2004. He represented his country in 2009. He made the Major Leagues in 2010. He hit his first Major League home run in 2011. All the while he comported himself with an eagerness and a joie de vivre sufficient for envy. This is a paragraph summary of Greg Halman’s life, and I hate it. I hate that it’s insultingly brief, and I hate that it had to be written.
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