Ex-Rangers pitcher Barfield killed in shooting

ARLINGTON -- John Barfield, a left-handed pitcher who spent three seasons with the Rangers from 1989-91, was shot and killed on Christmas Eve in Little Rock, Ark.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Barfield, 52, died after allegedly being shot by an acquaintance named William Goodman at his home in downtown Little Rock. Goodman has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Goodman reportedly went to Barfield's house on Christmas Eve and the two got into an argument. Goodman allegedly then fired a handgun at Barfield, who later died at the hospital.

The news stunned family, friends and people who knew Barfield, who was the Rangers' 11th-round pick in the '86 Draft.

"The thing I remember about John is he was a solid member of our pitching staff but always upbeat, personable, always in a good mood and always greeted you with a smile on his face," said former Rangers general manager Tom Grieve. "To have something like that is shocking. You feel bad for everybody, his family, his friends, his ex-teammates, everybody who ever came in contact with him."

Barfield was born in Pine Bluff and was part of the '83 Pine Bluff High School state championship team. He pitched at Neosho Crowder (Mo.) College and Oklahoma City University before being drafted by the Rangers.

He made his Major League debut with the Rangers on Sept. 7, 1989. He pitched in 65 games, including 11 starts, for the Rangers over a three-year period with a career record of 8-8 and a 4.72 ERA. His last season in the Major Leagues was in '91, but he continued to pitch in the Minor Leagues and in independent ball through '98.

"I'm devastated," Debra Hudson, Barfield's sister, told the Democrat-Gazette. "He had the kindest heart of any human I have ever known."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.