(AP) Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Jeff Reardon, one of the top relief pitchers in history, was charged with robbing a jewelry store, then blamed his arrest on medication he was taking for depression. The 50-year-old Reardon, retired since 1994 and sixth in career saves, walked into Hamilton Jewelers at the Gardens Mall on Monday and handed an employee a note saying he had a gun and the store was being robbed, police said Tuesday.
Reardon, who starred with the Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police found him at a nearby restaurant, recovered the stolen money and charged him with armed robbery. Lt. David O’Neill said Reardon did not have a gun and offered no resistance when handcuffed. “He said it was the medication that made him do it and that he was sorry,” O’Neill said. He said Reardon has lived in the city for more than 20 years and has never caused any problems.
Reardon briefly appeared in court Tuesday and was to be released on $5,000 bail, said his attorney, Mitchell Beers. He said Reardon had a 20-year-old son who died of a drug overdose in February 2004, which has been “very difficult for him and his family,” and has been on medication for depression. Reardon, who is married and has two other children, also underwent a heart angioplasty last week and has been taking medication for that condition. “He asked me to apologize to his fans and friends,” Beers said. “This bizarre incident is completely uncharacteristic of Jeff Reardon.” He said Reardon, who made more than $11.5 million during his career, according to baseballreference.com, was not having financial problems.
Bert Blyleven, Reardon’s teammate on Minnesota’s 1987 championship team, said he knew Reardon was still deeply affected by his son’s death. “It’s very uncharacteristic of Jeff Reardon to do what he did,” said Blyleven, now a TV analyst for the Twins. “I’ve been very fortunate, and my wife has, not to lose any of our children. I can’t imagine what he’s going through in the holidays.”
“Hopefully, he can get help and move forward on his life,” Blyleven added. “Thank God no one was hurt.” Reardon had a save in the Twins’ World Series victory over St. Louis. But five years later, he gave up a two-run homer to Toronto’s Ed Sprague in the ninth inning, allowing the Blue Jays to tie Atlanta at one game apiece. Toronto eventually won the 1992 World Series in six games.
The four-time All-Star was 73-77 with 367 saves and a 3.16 ERA in 16 seasons with the New York Mets, Montreal, Minnesota, Boston, the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.