PHOENIX — The news of Frank Mattox's death shook many around Major League Baseball this week, and it hit particularly hard inside the A's clubhouse.
Mattox, a longtime Seattle Mariners scout who starred at Acalanes High School and Cal, was an incredibly gifted player, according to A's bench coach Chip Hale.
Hale would know. He was a freshman at Campolindo High when Mattox was a senior at Acalanes, a time when those schools fielded great baseball teams and staged epic battles on the diamond.
"Frankie was just electric," said Hale, who played seven seasons in the majors. "At that time, I was looking up to him. He was just one of those guys you were trying to be like. But, physically, you couldn't really do it because he had so much God-given speed and quickness that I didn't have."
Mattox, 49, died suddenly Sunday night at his home in Peoria, Ariz. He played seven seasons in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization and then became a scout for the Colorado Rockies.
He went on to spend 17 seasons in the Mariners organization, including six as scouting director. It was during that time that A's manager Bob Melvin got to know Mattox. Melvin served as Seattle's manager in 2003 and 2004.
Melvin also played for Cal, though his time there did not overlap with Mattox's. The two last saw each other this past winter, when fellow Cal baseball alum Bryan Price was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.
"He was a Cal guy," Melvin recalled fondly. "He always went out of his way, whatever team he was on, to come say hi to me."