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Charlie Haeger was a rarity in Major League Baseball. He was one of the few knuckleballers to ever make it to the highest level of professional baseball pitching for the LA Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and San Diego Padres. But like so many others, Haeger toiled in the minor leagues for years. While he retired from playing baseball in 2013, he remained a part of the game as a coach. Sadly, the former pitcher was found dead on Saturday at the Grand Canyon, a day after his ex-girlfriend was fatally shot. 

Charlie Haeger makes it to Majors

The Chicago White Sox selected Charlie Haeger in the 25th round of the 2001 MLB Draft. Haeger, a knuckleball pitcher, played for a season in the White Sox minor league organization before he retired to pursue a golf career. After limited success in golf, he returned to baseball in 2004.

In 2006, Haeger made his MLB debut against the LA Angels. He made appearances in seven games that season and finished with a 1-1 record and recorded a save. Haeger played another season with the White Sox before moving to the San Diego Padres organization, where he only made four appearances with the parent club.

Charlie Haeger played two seasons with the LA Dodgers, where he appeared in 15 games and had a 1-5 record. He finished out his professional career playing in the minors for the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox. He retired after the 2013 season.   

Charlie Haeger retires from playing and coaches

Charlie Haeger #37 of the Los Angeles Dodgers
Charlie Haeger pitched for the LA Dodgers in 2009-10. | Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

While Charlie Haeger retired from baseball, he was still very involved in the game. After spending a year as the pitching coach for a college in Michigan, Haeger became the minor league pitching coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays organization, where he coached from 2016–2018.

In 2020, Haeger was named the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs’ AA minor-league team, the Tennessee Smokies. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he never worked for the organization because the Minor League Baseball season was canceled. 

Former pitcher suspected of murdering ex-girlfriend, found dead 

On Saturday, numerous media reports indicated police were seeking the former pitcher in connection with the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend Danielle Breed. 

According to the Arizona Republic, Scottsdale police responded to a 911 call for the sound of gunfire early Friday evening. When police arrived, Breed’s roommate said he had returned home and heard shots coming from her bedroom. According to police, Haeger then pointed the gun at the roommate before leaving the house and evading law enforcement officials. 

On Saturday, Haeger’s abandoned grey 2020 Chrysler Voyager was found near Flagstaff. Hours later, the former pitcher was found dead on a trail on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. He died by suicide. He was 37 years old.  

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.


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