MILWAUKEE — In his 33 years of service to the Milwaukee Brewers organization, Jeff Adcock was "a fixture" in the Brewers bullpen.
Remembered fondly for his kind demeanor to all Brewers players and staff who happened to cross his path, Adcock, 51, collapsed Sunday while on the job, in the early innings of Milwaukee's matchup with the Diamondbacks.
The game was delayed as emergency medical workers attempted to perform CPR on the Brewers' long-time Grounds Crew Lead, before transporting him to nearby Froedtert Hospital. But despite the efforts of the emergency medical team tending to him, Adcock died.
"We are all saddened by the news of Jeff's passing," Brewers executive vice president Bob Quinn said. "He was a part of our organization for many years, and was a fixture during games in our bullpen area. Jeff developed many friendships with our uniformed staff, and he will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Many of those friendships were forged between Brewers relievers — a group that was hit particularly hard by the emotional trauma of Adcock's death.
Closer John Axford was in the Brewers' clubhouse when he heard the news that Adcock had collapsed. He said on Monday that making his way out to the bullpen in the fourth inning was particularly hard, knowing Adcock wouldn't be there.
"With something like that, when something that tragic and devastating happens, it's tough," Axford said, "especially since you're down there and you always hear him or guys are always talking to him or he's sitting on the bench back there with us. To go down there knowing that he was there earlier, and you know the reason why he's not there on that particular time in the fourth inning when I got there, it's something completely different to think about."
Axford fondly shared one specific memory of Adcock, involving his near-iconic set of worn out Chuck Taylor tennis shoes — sneakers that became a talking point between Adcock and the rest of Milwaukee's bullpen — due to the wear and tear they took from his many years of hard work.
At one point, Axford recalled, fellow reliever Kameron Loe had surprised Adcock with two new, clean pairs of Chuck Taylors to replace the conversation pieces. Loe laughed at the memory on Monday, as it only took a few days for Adcock's shoes to again be dirty.
It was memories like that, along with others — his specific spot on the front bench in the bullpen, his consistent reading of fantasy football magazines or a newspaper before games, and his many secret handshakes with players — that the Brewers will continue to remember fondly.
But the loss will continue to resonate with the team and the staff, as grounds crew workers will wear "JA" memorial patches for the rest of the season in memory of their fallen co-worker.
The loss was particularly hard on Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who got choked up talking about Adcock in front of the media Monday afternoon.
"It's tough," Roenicke said. "I'm still bothered about it. I addressed the team yesterday after the game, and that wasn't easy for me to do. Things that happen in life, we're so sheltered with what we do out there in the field and it seems like we're not even a part of the community and what goes on in real life. And when it hits you like that, some of our players were pretty bothered … A couple of them talked to me about it. It's a hard thing. I didn't quite know what to say to guys after the game. … We lose a guy that's been out there with us for a long time."
Added Loe: "He was an awesome guy. We all loved him down there. Our hearts and prayers definitely go out to his family, and we hope they're able to find peace."