Steve Howe, a relief pitcher whose career was derailed by cocaine and alcohol abuse, died at age 48 on Friday when his pickup truck rolled over in Coachella, California.

Howe was the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and helped them win the World Series the next year.

But for all of Howe's success on the field, the hard-throwing lefty was constantly troubled by addictions -- he was suspended seven times and became a symbol of the rampant cocaine problem that plagued baseball in the 1980s.

Steve played for me for five years and I thought the world of him, former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda said. I am truly sorry to hear about his passing and my deepest sympathies go out to his family.

There was a moment of silence at Yankee Stadium before New York played Toronto on Friday night. Howe played for the Yankees from 1991-1996.

Howe was 47-41 with 91 saves and a 3.03 ERA with the Dodgers, Minnesota, Texas and Yankees. His final season in the majors was 1996, and the Yankees released him in June.

Two days after the Yankees let him go, Howe was arrested at a Delta Airlines terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when a loaded .357 Magnum was detected inside his suitcase. He later pleaded guilty to gun possession and was placed on three years probation and given 150 hours of community service.

Howe tried a comeback in 1997 with Sioux Falls of the independent Northern League. In August, he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Montana and charged with drunken driving.


Fri 04/28/06, 3:50 pm EST



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