Orioles Bechler dead at 23

By Josh Boyd
February 17, 2003

Baltimore Orioles righthander Steve Bechler died Monday morning at age 23.

The cause of death was yet to be determined, but Bechler was hospitalized Sunday after complaining of dizziness after workouts at the team’s Fort Lauderdale spring training complex.

Orioles general manager Jim Beattie informed the team of the news after a morning workout. “After the workout, we heard about Steve’s death and pulled them off the field and told them he died at 10:10 (AM) and the day was cancelled,” Beattie said. “It was very brief at that point. There wasn’t much else to say.”

Orioles team doctor William Goldiner said Bechler suffered from “multi-system organ failure, that’s the best way to describe it,” at a press conference.

The 23-year-old pitcher spent the night in the intensive care unit at Northridge Medical Center. He was pale and feeling lightheaded Sunday while completing his final conditioning run on a back field at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, and he was taken from the complex by ambulance.

The initial diagnosis was heat exhaustion and dehydration, but his condition worsened after he arrived at the hospital.

Bechler, a third-round pick out of high school in 1998, made his major league debut last year, going 0-0, 13.50 in three relief appearances. He was expected to begin this season with the club’s new Triple-A affiliate in Ottawa. He went 6-11, 4.09 in Triple-A last year.