Former Atlanta Braves standout pitcher Tommy Hanson has passed away at the age of 29 due to catastrophic organ failure, Zack Klein of WSB-TV reports.
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) November 10, 2015
It was originally reported that the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native had fallen into a coma, without any additional information available. There were rumors on Twitter that Hanson had overdosed on cocaine, but those were not confirmed. However, people close to the situation were describing the situation as “real bad,” per David O’Brien of AJC.
Unfortunately for Hanson, his situation did not improve, as Klein reported.
Per source: Tommy Hanson suffered catastrophic organ failure. “We need prayers, we need him to wake up” — Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) November 10, 2015
Hanson was drafted by the Braves in the 22nd round of the 2005 Major League Baseball draft. Debuting in professional baseball in 2006, Hanson worked his way up the Braves’ minor-league system, routinely being ranked as a top pitching prospect throughout the game. Prior to the 2009 season, Hanson was once again named one of the top prospects in the game, culminating with a mid-season call up to the Major League squad.
Very sad to hear about Tommy Hanson. Wish his family and close friends a lot of strength. He was a really nice dude. :/
— Andrelton Simmons (@Andrelton) November 10, 2015
With his crisp stuff, Hanson enjoyed a solid rookie season for the Braves, going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 127-and-one-third innings. Hanson’s efforts earned him a third place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
“I couldn’t be happier with the year I had,” Hanson told MLB Hot Stove after his rookie season. ” I really didn’t know what to expect, I just wanted to get up there, and when I did get up there, I felt like I was ready to go out there and compete and help the Braves win.”
Following his outstanding rookie campaign, Hanson continued as a mainstay in the Atlanta rotation for several seasons. In his first full-season as a big league starter in 2010, Hanson went 10-11 with a 3.33 ERA in what ends up a career-high 202-and-two-thirds innings. Injuries hampered Hanson somewhat from 2011-12, but he was still able to compile 24 wins for the Braves during that time, pitching to a 4.04 ERA in 304-and-two-thirds innings.
After the 2012 campaign, Hanson’s four-year tenure with the Braves came to an end. The Braves dealt their right-handed pitcher to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for hard-throwing closer Jordan Walden, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. In four seasons, Hanson finished his Braves stint with a 45-32 record and a 3.61 ERA.
In his lone season in Anaheim, Hanson was not able to replicate his prior success, going 4-3 with a disappointing 5.42 ERA in 15 games (13 starts). He also dealt with the death of his stepbrother that year, telling Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times how difficult that ordeal was for him and his family to go through.
“I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother. I was just trying to get through it. I didn’t know how to handle it. That was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me. I didn’t know how to cope with it. … Physically, I feel great. I’m in great shape. I just had to deal with the issues going on in my head”
The Angels non-tendered Hanson after the season.The 2013 season ends up as Hanson’s final year as a major league player. After his Angels’ stint, Hanson bounced around a bit, signing a couple of minor league deals. In 2014, Hanson signed with the Texas Rangers prior to Spring Training, but was released before the season. He then signed with the Chicago White Sox in April, but an injury prevented him from pitching in the majors.
On May 13, Hanson signed his final pact, a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants, via The Press Enterprise. But he never pitched for the major league team.
We wish the Hanson family the best during this difficult time.
[Images by (Kevin C. Cox, Jamie Squire)/Getty Images]