Former Oakland A’s outfielder Jeremy Giambi died Wednesday at age 47.
Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle reports that “Giambi died today at his parents’ home in Southern California,” per Giambi’s agent. The A’s later confirmed the news.
Giambi played six seasons in the majors, including three for Oakland. He debuted with the Royals in 1998 but was traded here ahead of the 2000 season, and he settled in as a high-OBP lefty bat for the next couple years. After posting a robust .391 OBP in 2001 he even spent some time as an unconventional leadoff hitter in 2002.
However, midway through the 2002 campaign he was traded to the Phillies for John Mabry, in a transaction immortalized by the book and movie Moneyball. He did great in Philadelphia the rest of that summer, then played 50 games for the Red Sox the next year in his final MLB action at age 28.
While Giambi’s tenure with the A’s is most remembered for the lowlight of him being tagged out at the plate in the 2001 ALDS, he was quite productive for the team in 270 games and nearly 1,000 plate appearances over parts of three seasons.
- Giambi, OAK career: .272/.374/.445, 119 wRC+, 30 HR, 13.1% BB, 19.7% Ks
He ranked sixth on the team in runs scored during his time on the club, and they reached the postseason every year he was here. Art Howe, his manager in Oakland, said the following this afternoon, per Slusser:
“I know how hard Jeremy played every single day. I know our fans remember him for that non-slide, but I think it’s a shame anyone even thinks about that. He was a good kid, he was well liked, and he gave me everything.”
Of course, Jeremy was also the brother of Jason Giambi, his superstar teammate on those 2000-01 A’s rosters.
General manager Billy Beane said of Giambi, via Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News:
“He could take a teasing and give it back. It’s a tough shadow when your brother is Jason Giambi and he wore that with pride. He was well liked and fun loving.”
Another former teammate, star pitcher Barry Zito, said the following via Slusser, who notes that there hasn’t been any confirmation about the cause of death:
“I am completely shocked by the news about Jeremy. He was an incredibly loving human being with a very soft heart and it was evident to us as his teammates that he had some deeper battles going on. ... I hope this can be a wake up call for people out there to not go at it alone and for families and friends to trust their intuition When they feel somebody close to them needs help. God bless Jeremy and his family in this difficult time.”
Athletics Nation wishes the best to the Giambi family. RIP Jeremy.