Charlie Haeger found dead after suspected murder-suicide

Charlie Haeger, a 2001 White Sox draft pick who pitched for the team in 2006 and 2007, was found dead of what police said is an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Arizona on Saturday after being suspected of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Breed, Friday evening.

The Arizona Republic relayed the details:

Breed’s roommate reportedly returned to his home and heard shots coming from her room, police said. Moments later, he saw Haeger come out of the room holding a handgun. Haeger then pointed the gun on the roommate, according to police, but the roommate was able to get away and call 911. 

The Scottsdale Police SWAT team was on the scene, and barricades were used in an attempt to stop the suspect from fleeing, but Haeger managed to evade police.

Fox10 Phoenix talked to Jane Long, Breed’s mother, who said that Breed wanted to get a restraining order against Haeger for cyberstalking.

Haeger had been best known to White Sox fans as their most recent knuckleballer. He was selected out of high school in the 25th round of the 2001 draft, then reached the majors in May of 2006. He made 15 appearances for the White Sox between 2006 and 2007, posting a 4.87 ERA. He was designated for assignment in September of 2008 in order to make room for Jason Bourgeois on the 40-man roster after the Carlos Quentin wrist injury. His last pitch in a White Sox uniform was on Aug. 1, 2007, a 68-mph knuckleball in Yankee Stadium that home plate umpire Tom Hallion decided was retaliatory, and so Haeger was ejected from the game.

He pitched in slices of three more seasons, making San Diego’s September roster in 2008, then pitching for the Dodgers over the next two years. He couldn’t get back to the majors after 2010, but he resurfaced in a number of roles after his playing days. He spent a year with the Chicago-based Elite Baseball Training in 2015, after which he worked for the Rays as their pitching coordinator for three seasons.

He was quoted extensively in Ben Lindbergh’s article about knuckleballers on The Ringer in September 2019. Prior to the 2020 season, the Cubs named him their Double-A pitching coach, although with the cancellation of the season, he never officially served in that role.

Jon Greenberg pointed out that Elite Baseball Training is owned by Cubs director of hitting Justin Stone. Greenberg also received a comment from the Cubs before Haeger’s death became official.

“First, we would like to express our condolences to the family of Danielle Breed,” Cubs vice president of communications Julian Green said in a statement before Haeger’s death was announced. “Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.

“Charles Haeger was hired by the Chicago Cubs organization as a minor league pitching coach in November 2019. Haeger initially attended Spring Training activities, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic which suspended operations and forced the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League season, his role and team interactions have been limited. Given this is an active investigation, we are assisting the Scottsdale Police Department and will not make any further comment.”

(Photo by Jayne Oncea /Icon Sportswire)

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Willardmarshall

Had to laugh at the retaliatory knuckleball….

As Cirensica

wow…what a story. I barely remember this guy.

NateDPT12

Very sad story. I remember watching that game against the Yankees. Even Michael Kay and Jim Kaat though it was ridiculous he got thrown out.

asinwreck

What horrific news to learn over coffee.

WaldoWolf

I remember watching that game! If I am remembering correctly Ozzie told Haeger to hit the Yankees batter. Haeger refused because one time he seriously hurt someone by intentionally throwing at them. So he threw behind the Yankee batter and Ozzie went nuts. Ozzie refused to ever put Haeger in again for not listening to him.

vanillablue

The Sean Tracey incident was where I lost all respect for Ozzie. Tracey never pitched in the majors again after that, if I recall correctly.

WaldoWolf

You’re right, I definitely was.

GrinnellSteve

When my son was in Little League, we were losing badly. The other team broke an unwritten rule like stealing with a 9-run lead. I don’t recall exactly. Our coach went to the mound and told the pitcher to hit the next batter. He refused. It was a friend of his. I don’t remember how the rest played out at the game, but the coach was banned.

DrCrawdad

I don’t know much about Haeger outside of baseball. I was always a big fan of Wilbur Wood. So with Haerger as a Sox prospect I was rooting for the knuckleballer.

Part of me wonders what happened then the other part of me doesn’t want to know.

I feel bad for the victims and their surviving loved ones.