Former Braves, Angels pitcher Hanson dies at 29
Right-hander played for Atlanta from 2009-12 and Los Angeles in 2013
ATLANTA -- Many members of the baseball world are understandably reacting to Tommy Hanson's premature death with shock and sadness. The former Major Leaguer, who pitched for the Braves and Angels, was just 29.
A Braves representative confirmed that some of Hanson's former teammates were near Hanson when he passed away at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital late Monday night. Multiple sources told WSB-TV in Atlanta that Hanson suffered catastrophic organ failure. A source said he had difficulty breathing early Sunday morning and was taken to a hospital.
"Devastated" was the simple and fitting response one of Hanson's closest friends provided as he attempted to deal with the grief early Tuesday morning. This seemed to be a common sentiment among the many who had the pleasure of knowing the big redheaded right-hander, who possessed a bushy beard and a kind heart.
Among those expressing their sorrow was Andrelton Simmons, who tweeted, "Very sad to hear about Tommy Hanson. Wish his family and close friends a lot of strength. He was a really nice dude. :/"
Braves president John Schuerholz said in a statement on Tuesday the team was "incredibly saddened":
"He was a favorite in the clubhouse and with our staff and he will truly be missed by everyone in Braves Country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family, former teammates and friends."
Former Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, now with the Padres, tweeted about Hanson on Tuesday: "Tommy Hanson was a great person, it hurts my heart to see him go so soon. My prayers and thoughts are with the Hanson family."
Also taking to Twitter was Oakland's Josh Reddick, who wrote, "Thoughts and prayers to the family of Tommy Hanson. Great guy and competitor. RIP"
Hanson established himself as baseball's top pitching prospect after he dominated as the 2008 MVP of the Arizona Fall League. He made his much-anticipated Major League debut the following June and ended his first month at the big league level by winning four consecutive starts, including two straight against the Yankees and Red Sox at Turner Field.
After producing a 3.28 ERA over the 77 starts made during his first three Major League seasons, Hanson was hampered by a shoulder and back ailment that altered his career. The Braves traded him to the Angels after the 2012 season, and he did not pitch at the Major League level after making 15 appearances for the 2013 Angels.
He spent the past two seasons pitching in the White Sox and Giants organizations. Though he finished this past season with a 5.60 ERA in 11 appearances for Triple-A Sacramento, he went 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings in his last four starts.
"The Giants are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Tommy Hanson," the Giants said in a statement. "Tommy was a great talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many people who were lucky enough to know him. "
Hanson had a 49-35 record, 3.80 ERA and 648 strikeouts in his Major League career.