By on June 30, 2013

Miller’s Legacy Baseball in Clearwater, Florida (Eddie Michels photo)

    When one loses a friend it’s difficult especially when it’s at a young age and that’s what I am speaking of now with the passing of Justin Miller.

    Miller passed away on Wednesday June 26, 2013 at age 35 of unknown causes as reported in the local and national media.

    He spent time in the majors with Toronto, Florida, San Francisco and the LA Dodgers where he posted a 24-14 record with a 4.82 ERA.  Miller returned to Palm Harbor, Florida that became his adopted home when he was traded to Toronto on December 7, 2001.

    At times he might march to his own drummer but Miller cared about the most important thing during his career and that was just getting the ball every fifth day, taking the mound and doing his job.

    That was over shadowed a bit by what happened on March 20, 2004 in the visiting club house after a game against the Red Sox in Ft. Myers.

    This writer walked into the club house and witnessed former major league umpire then umpires supervision Jim McKeon talking to Miller.  After McKeon left I went to talk to Miller about the game and was led to the conclusion that he might want to speak more freely the next day back in Dunedin.

    On March 21, 2004 Miller handed me the whole story on a silver platter that lead to the AP lead, “Tattoos Are Taboo for Toronto Blue Jays Right-hander Justin Miller.”

     This all became the “Justin Miller Rule” that led pitchers with tattoos on their arms to be covered with a long sleeve.  Personally I could never figure out why as Miller had love tattooed on his left knuckles and hate on his right, something he always joked about.

    If you want to read that story the lead was changed a bit with right-hander changed to pitcher in the only reference I can find now on the internet that was updated on March 24, 2004.

    The whole thing didn’t really bother this native of Torrance, Ca. as he said then and in later interviews.  He just wanted the ball every fifth day.

    His unfortunate passing though does leave behind his wife Jessica and two sons 18 and seven.  Hopefully he is resting in peace.

    So until then…

Categories: Baseball, Other Side of Sports (Too), Sports
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