Magazine article Newsweek

One Very Wild Pitch; Did Drugs Make a Star Hurler Rob a Jewelry Shop?

Magazine article Newsweek

One Very Wild Pitch; Did Drugs Make a Star Hurler Rob a Jewelry Shop?

Article excerpt

Byline: Arian Campo-Flores

By Christmas day, Jeff Reardon was a physical and emotional wreck. The former star relief pitcher was struggling through a second holiday season without his son Shane, who died of a drug overdose in 2004 and would have turned 22 last Thursday. "I miss you more than ever," Reardon wrote in a November entry to a Web memorial for Shane. To help numb the pain, Reardon, 50, was taking at least five antidepressants, his lawyer says. That was on top of four or five heart medications he was prescribed after an angioplasty operation on Dec. 23.

The day after Christmas, Reardon went to a nearby mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Though he told his wife and two surviving kids that he was going to buy a coffeepot, instead he entered a jewelry store and slipped a sales clerk a note demanding cash and jewelry and claiming that he had a gun, according to a police affidavit. The store manager gave him $170 in a bag. After leaving, Reardon--who in fact had no weapon--saw a security guard in the parking lot, went up to him and surrendered. "I completely lost my mind," he wrote later in a statement to police. "I flipped on my medications."

The state attorney may or may not see it that way. Released on bond, Reardon now faces armed-robbery charges (even though he wasn't armed, the note claiming that he was meets the legal threshold). The news came as a shock to former teammates, who describe the four-time All-Star as a quiet, generous soul. With career earnings of at least $11. …

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