R.I.P. to Brian Bock, a former catcher in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He died unexpectedly on April 22 at the age of 37. Probably his biggest moment in professional baseball came at the 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown.
Brian Bock was born in Bakersfield, Calif. on August 24, 1981. He graduated from Garces Memorial High School in 1999 and attended the University of Hawaii on a baseball scholarship. The Orioles drafted him in the 14th Round of the 2003 June Amateur Draft, and he started his professional career in the New York-Pennsylvania League as a member of the Aberdeen IronBirds.
Bock batted .222 in 43 games with the IronBirds in 2003 and stayed in the Orioles organization through 2007, advancing as high as AAA Ottawa for one game in 2006. His best season came in 2005, when he hit .256 for the Frederick Keys and the Delmarva Shorebirds, with 12 doubles, 3 home runs and 41 RBIs. For his 5 seasons in the minors, he slashed .226/.272/.293 with 242 hits, including 10 home runs. He knocked in 121 runs and scored 100 runs.
Bock was one of the minor-leaguers invited to appear in the 2007 Hall of Fame game between the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles won the game 13-7, and Bock was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his stellar performance. He slugged a solo home run in the bottom of the 6th inning to give the Orioles a 6-3 lead, and then he hit a grand slam homer in the very next inning. Bock went 3-for 4 in the game with 5 RBIs and scored 3 runs in the game.
“It’s certainly something I didn’t expect. I don’t think I ever hit a grand slam,” he told the Associated Press. “I’m just trying to show the coaching staff that I can play, just bouncing around, wherever they need me.”
Bock’s obituary notes that after his playing career ended, he joined W.A. Thompson Distributing in 2008. He also taught baseball to his two sons and coached in the Northwest Bakersfield Baseball League. His motto was “Pay attention and try hard.”