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Former Billings Mustang Mike LaCoss Shares A Classic Eddie Van Halen Story

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

To celebrate Eddie Van Halen’s 57th birthday on Sunday, we thought we’d share a funny story from a former Billings Mustang who later pitched in the big leagues.

If you grew up going to Billings Mustangs games back in the 1970’s, you may remember a pitcher named Mike LaCoss.  Mike spent the 1974 season here in Billings, before eventually making his way to the Cincinnati Reds.  He retired after a 13 year major league career and now operates a baseball website called

During his weekly “Trip to the Mound” podcast, LaCoss told the story of Eddie Van Halen’s infamous appearance at a charity golf tournament.

Back in the late 80’s, LaCoss was pitching for the San Francisco Giants.  One of his teammates, Mike Krukow, held a charity golf event in California.  Although LaCoss is a rock music fan, he didn’t know Eddie Van Halen would be playing in the tournament.  Until he encountered a group of drunk guys stumbling through the clubhouse at 9 am.

As they prepared to hit the links, Eddie refused to drive a cart, insisting that he would walk the course instead.  Shortly after Eddie and his entourage set out on the course, Mike heard a siren.  It was an ambulance rushing down the fairway.  Evidently, Eddie had passed out somewhere on the front 9 and had to be rushed to a local hospital.  Luckily, Eddie was ok.  However, he was unable to attend the charity auction during which he was scheduled to autograph several guitars.  Although that was the only time they ever met, LaCoss remains a Van Halen fan to this day.


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