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Josh Hancock details from police

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by noodles, May 1, 2007.

  1. noodles

    noodles Member

    Some surprising news on Hancock here, and what in the world is LaRussa doing?

    By Joe Strauss and Jake Wagman
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    ST. LOUIS—Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was in a potentially serious traffic accident less than three days before the one that took his life Sunday, according to police reports.
    Hancock walked away from that early Thursday morning crash uninjured, but he was late for the team's afternoon game a few hours later. The club and several teammates said he had overslept.
    But sources say he was late because he was hung over.
    Two nights later, after pitching in a Saturday afternoon game, Hancock spent the evening at Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood drinking to a point of impairment, according to a couple at the restaurant.
    The couple said they overheard Hancock telling ESPN broadcaster Dave Campbell that manager Tony La Russa had been infuriated with Hancock on Thursday because he was "too hung over to play." A club source also said Hancock was hung over when he arrived at the ballpark.
    Hancock was killed about 12:30 a.m. Sunday as he drove west from downtown, apparently headed to meet with four teammates in Clayton.
    Three days earlier, Hancock had a close call when his vehicle edged several inches into the intersection of Yellow Brick Road and Illinois Route 3. In suburban St. Louis, a Sauget, Ill., police spokesman said Monday that a tractor-trailer struck Hancock's GMC Denali, tearing off the vehicle's front bumper. "Just another inch or so and he could have died two days earlier, because that tractor-trailer was traveling about 45 to 50 miles per hour," according to Sauget Police Chief Patrick Delaney.
    Neither Hancock nor the truck's driver was injured, and Hancock was not ticketed.
    "He apparently inched forward to get ready to make a left-hand turn to go northbound on Route 3. I don't know if he didn't realize the front of his vehicle had just inched enough onto the southbound roadway," Delaney said.
    The accident occurred at 5:30 a.m., less than five hours before the Cardinals were due to arrive at Busch Stadium for a 12:10 start against the Cincinnati Reds.
    La Russa declined to say Monday whether he had knowledge of Hancock's Thursday accident. "That's not a baseball-related question so I don't think I'll answer it." The man who sat near Hancock at Shannon's on Saturday night—who asked to be identified only as Vince—said he overheard Hancock tell Campbell that he missed the start of Thursday's game because he had spent the previous night drinking. Hancock told Campbell that La Russa fined him $500, according to the man.
    "They were standing behind us at the bar, probably for about 45 minutes," said a second witness, Vince's wife, who did not want her name revealed. She said Hancock had "several" drinks.
    Campbell, reached late Monday, said, "I was standing there minding my own business. A kid named Josh Hancock introduced himself to me. I've never met him before in my life. ... A couple people at ESPN (asked me), 'Did you think he was inebriated?' In my opinion, I couldn't tell. I'm not a toxicologist. ...
    "As to the statement somebody made that he told me something about Tony La Russa, all I can say is that is absolutely 100 percent false. If he said it, I didn't hear it either through the noise or because I wasn't paying attention." Campbell explained why he didn't come forward earlier, saying, "I'm not the story. He is. I didn't want to throw him under the bus. I didn't want to talk about the fact that I had run into him. I'm not that type of journalist. ... I did not want the family to suffer any more, so I didn't want the fact to be known I was having a drink with him." Because of the first accident, Hancock rented a 2007 Ford Explorer, which he drove to Busch Stadium on Saturday morning.
    Hancock was on his way to join a group of Cardinals teammates at Cafe Napoli in Clayton about 12:30 a.m. Sunday when his Ford Explorer ran into a 26,000 pound lift truck dispatched to an earlier accident. Hancock had text messaged a member of the group, which included center fielder Jim Edmonds, relief pitcher Ryan Franklin, catcher Gary Bennett and second baseman Adam Kennedy.
    The last members of the group left around 1:30 a.m. without knowledge of the accident.
    The scene at Shannon's
    After working three innings in the Cardinals' 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Hancock dined at Mike Shannon's.
    The two eyewitnesses who saw Hancock at the restaurant bar said he remained at the establishment when they left at 10:31 p.m.
    Pat Shannon, manager at Shannon's, told the Post-Dispatch on Sunday that Hancock told her he planned to stop at the Westin Hotel several blocks away.
    Shannon said she offered to call a cab for Hancock, but he declined the invitation. She declined to verify whether Hancock had been drinking but said she personally phoned police Chief Joe Mokwa, telling him "everything I know about last night." Restaurant owner and Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon declined to comment further Monday, saying, "I don't discuss matters concerning my customers, whoever they are." The two witnesses said Hancock appeared impaired.
    "He had a mixed drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other," Vince said. "And my wife's comment was, 'He can barely put a sentence together."'
    A manager at the restaurant and bar inside the Westin, the Clark Street Grill, says he does not know if Hancock was there Saturday.
    La Russa's warning La Russa seemed to fire a pre-emptive shot at the media Monday. He said he told his club to be leery of the media seeking to exploit events.
    "I also had a very important caution: Be careful of the insincerity of some media people ... trying to befriend you then trying to slam you with something that they want to turn this into, some kind of story that's not all sweet," La Russa said. "I've already seen signs of that. I'm sitting here listening. The first time I hear insincerity I'll start swinging this fungo because it doesn't have its place."
    Pressed about his message, La Russa said, "I'm just talking about people who really don't care about us, who are out there trying to further their own agendas. That's exactly what I mean."
    On Sunday, Mokwa did not provide specifics surrounding an investigation of the accident, but he did volunteer that no alcohol containers were found in Hancock's vehicle. Preliminary results from an autopsy could be released soon, but that won't include the toxicology report, which is expected to take two to six weeks.
    Mokwa speculated that Hancock was traveling at or slightly above the posted speed limit. Police accounts say Hancock did not brake before hitting the tow truck but tried to swerve at the last moment.
    On Monday, former pitcher Cal Eldred and broadcaster Rick Horton, a member of Baseball Chapel and chairman of the St. Louis chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, traveled to Milwaukee to provide support to the players.
    "Obviously, everybody is grieving and sad about the loss that we have had," said pitcher Chris Carpenter. "Josh was a great player, a great teammate, a great guy in the clubhouse. We're going to miss him."
    The Cardinals continued to limit access to their players Monday. After initially announcing that the clubhouse would open at 3:45 p.m.—70 minutes after its regular time—the club changed its mind and ordered it closed during its entire pre-game routine.
    The club received permission from Major League Baseball to abbreviate, but not to completely shut off, pre-game access. La Russa said he would restore routine access.
    The Cardinals will wear black patches with Hancock's No. 32 for the remainder of the season.
    La Russa emphasized to his team the need to go on.
    "Doesn't this happen to people every day all over? Everybody loses family and friends," said La Russa, citing the mother of an Oakland A's equipment manager who died recently. "People are losing family and friends on a daily basis and they grieve and they go on with their lives. We're not immune to that."
    Derrick Goold and Denise Hollinshed of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
  2. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    What about a human being with some common sense? Are you one of those, Dave?
  3. somewriter

    somewriter Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    That damn media ... trying to learn the truth and all.
  4. Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    I read Sunday that Jason Isringhausen was worried before Thursday's game that something had happened to Hancock. He was quoted as saying something about the experience conjuring memories of Darryl Kile's death. I wondered why, just because Hancock was late to a game, Isringhausen immediately would assume something had happened. That didn't add up.

    But knowing now that Hancock was out until after 5:30 a.m., drinking to the point of a hangover, it makes a little more sense. I just wonder if Hancock had a history of drunken driving, a history Isringhausen might have known about.
  5. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Active Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    I kind of thought that this story would take a bad turn, but I never imagined this one.

    How can Dave Campbell not tell somebody about this? I bet the parent company is happy that he didn't come forward to them so they could get the exclusive. . . "ESPN's Dave Campbell is reporting. . . "

    Utterly amazing.
  6. ogre

    ogre Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    I understand Campbell not reporting every time he was out drinking with an athlete. It is hypocritical when you, too, were boozing. Akin to writers making a big deal -- beyond simply reporting it -- of an athlete that gets arrested with drugs, when the writer has done the same drugs at some point.

    But when the guy ends up dead the next day from driving home from the bar? ESPN should be pissed.
  7. D-3 Fan

    D-3 Fan Well-Known Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    A couple of thoughts:

    -This doesn't look good from a PR standpoint for the Cardinals family at all. If you take away LaRussa getting dinged for DUI during spring training, if the accounts are accurate and the toxicology report come out to confirm that alcohol was in his system, the Cardinals (organization and team), Mike Shannon (p-b-p and owner of his own restaurant), his daughter (who is the manager), and everyone around Hancock come out looking really bad.

    -If I was Mike Shannon, I would ban any current Cardinals players from visiting the restaurant for a long time. All of this is making him look really bad as a former Cardinal and p-b-p guy for the same team.

    -Campbell would have been wise to tell the STLPD first and told them what he noticed, before telling the WWL. Secondly, we don't know how much Soup actually had to drink, before leaving to eat at another place. Along with Gary Thorne, this hasn't been a good week for ESPN announcers and analysts.
  8. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    What are you talking about? Campbell wasn't <i>with</i> Hancock because he didn't even know him. They happened to be in the same place, which happens to be popular among baseball people. If you go into Shannon's when the Cardinals have a home series, you'll probably see personnel from both teams and maybe an umpire or two also. That doesn't mean they're all hanging out together.

    "Boozing?" I don't know about Missouri, but it's legal in a lot of states for adults to purchase and consume alcoholic drinks. Shannon's isn't a speakeasy.

    Maybe that athlete/writer drug thing makes sense to you. Most writers can't afford the kind of drug habits athletes have.
  9. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    tony larussa is like teflon. he's a freakin' genius. is he implying he wants to hit a reporter with a fungo?

    when coaches and managers start using the "us against them" card with players against the media, and start talking about reporters having their own agendas, it always seems to backfire eventually.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    I'd say when a car hits a car or tow truck parked on the side of the road in decent weather at 12:30 a.m. you talking impaired driver 90 percent of the time. Sleeping driver 10 percent.
  11. Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    Especially in towns with minor-league affiliates, where the options are even more reduced.

    Everyone ends up at the same place. Yes, even reporters. And it is possible to have a beer or play a game of 9-ball with someone you interview the next day without the wall of journalistic objectivity completely crumbling. If anyone on the team seemed skittish about my presence, I told them 2 things: 1) when the beer was in my hand, I'm off the clock and 2) just don't get arrested.

    Those were fun days fresh out of college...
  12. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    Re: new story on Hancock - wow

    Uh oh, big bad Tony is going to be waiting in the clubhouse with his fungo to go Byzantine on someone "with an agenda."
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