05/03/07 7:00 PM ET
Cardinals pay respects to fallen friend
Hancock's good nature remembered at memorial service
By Daniel Berk / MLB.com
Katie Hancock talked about all the lessons her older brother taught people throughout his life."He taught us how to follow our dreams," Katie Hancock said. "He taught my dad to be a best friend. He was a great man." Others that spoke included one of Hancock's high school coaches, Cas McWaters, his agent, Bo McKinnis, and the scout that signed Hancock to his first professional contract with the Red Sox, Joe Mason. Mason, who is currently a scout with the Brewers, said Hancock would have been Dizzy Dean's right-hand man in the Gas House Gang because he was such a fun guy. "He tried to make people laugh and fit in no matter what level they were in," Mason said. "He was always doing something for someone else. Every day was a good day for him." All of the speakers mentioned how Hancock always talked about how proud he was of Katie and his brother, Jon-Jon. Hancock's father, Dean, met with members of the media before the service and talked about how much Hancock loved playing for the Cardinals. The elder Hancock wore a red ribbon on his suit jacket pinned across a mini Cardinals jersey with Hancock's No. 32. "Professional baseball players are brothers within a family, and the St. Louis Cardinals players and coaches are bonded together, in my opinion, like no other family in baseball," Dean Hancock said. "Josh was so proud to be a part of that family." The Cardinals charted a plane and arrived at the church shortly after 1 p.m. CT. No member from the team spoke to the media before or after the service. General manager Walt Jocketty and other members of the front office were also in attendance. Hancock was in his second season with St. Louis and had posted a career record of 9-7 in seven Major League seasons. He made 70 appearances with the Cardinals. The right-handed reliever was a part of the Cardinals' run to the World Series and pitched 77 innings in the 2006 championship season. This season, Hancock had made eight appearances and pitched 12 2/3 innings. Hancock was laid to rest on Wednesday outside Marietta, Miss., in Itawamba County in a private funeral for family and close friends. "Normally, most families in our situation would be grieving anonymously, supported by family and friends within their communities," Dean Hancock said. "But Josh belonged to a much larger community. It is our good fortune to be getting strength from prayers, thoughts and encouragement, not only from our friends and family here, but from people throughout the nation. "We have received so many calls and notes from total strangers telling us something wonderful about Josh. He was a great son, friend and teammate."
Daniel Berk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.