Wednesday, November 11, 2015

RIP Tommy Hanson

Two nights ago, we received the shocking news that RHP Tommy Hanson was in a coma in an Atlanta hospital with what was described as "catastrophic organ failure."  Well, THAT did not sound good and it wasn't.  The following morning the headlines reported his untimely death.  Hanson was just 29 years old.  He was once one of the most highly ranked prospects in baseball in the Atlanta Braves organization.  I believe he once started a playoff game against the Giants and pitched well.  A shoulder injury derailed his career.  He had just completed a season in the Giants minor league organization trying to stage a comeback.  While he did not quite make it back to the majors in 2015, he did finish the season on a relative high note pitching for the AAA Sacramento River Cats.  Over his final 4 starts, he allowed just 4 runs in 23.2 IP with 21 K's and 7 BB's.

Multiple Giants players and minor leaguers expressed their shock and sadness at the development.  Tommy seemed to make friends of his teammates easily.  He was reportedly especially close to fellow Oklahoma native Clayton Blackburn in Sacramento.  There is also a local connection for me in that Tommy graduated from Redlands East Valley High School in my hometown and attended Riverside City College locally before being drafted by the Braves.  I have met several people over the years who knew Tommy Hanson and his family.  They always spoke highly of him.

I don't think you have to be a medically oriented person to realize that "catastrophic organ failure" does not tell you much about what befell Tommy Hanson.  Healthy 29 year olds do not just roll in with "catastrophic organ failure" without some major insult to their body.  An investigation into what happened is ongoing and will probably take a few days to sort out.  Just a reminder that ballplayers are humans too.  Away from the glamour and mega contracts of the elite players, baseball life is one helluva tough way to live.  The pressures to succeed, often self generated, as well as the disappointments are enormous and can be quite crushing.

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