MLB Pitcher Tommy Hanson Overdoses

Former MLB pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels died Monday at the age of 29 from what authorities are saying was a drug overdose.
Nina Fenton
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Former MLB pitcher, Tommy Hanson, has died at the age of 29 after being rushed to Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital where he lapsed into a coma due to catastrophic organ failure shortly before his death on Monday, November 9. He was reportedly surrounded by his family, friends and former teammates when he succumbed to his condition, which was likely due to a drug overdose, according to authorities.

While unconfirmed, there is a great deal of speculation regarding Hanson’s alleged drug use as reports have been circulating throughout the media and via Twitter accounts citing cocaine as the cause of the overdose and suggesting he was a habitual user. However, only time and the results from the toxicology tests conducted during his autopsy will truly tell.

A Weekend of Fun Turns Tragic

It’s likely that Hanson did not anticipate a tragic ending to what was supposed to be a fun filled weekend with friends, Brandon Bond and Clare Jordan, at their Coweta County home. He was found unresponsive with cold hands and a discolored face in the basement where he was sleeping on November 8 by Jordan when his dogs began barking outside. Sensing that something was wrong, she immediately called 911.

“I just came down here again because one of his dogs was barking and I wanted to make sure everything was OK,” Jordon told the 911 dispatcher. “And he just didn’t look right.”

The dispatcher then instructed her to begin performing chest compressions on Hanson while paramedics were in route. Jordan didn’t have to do so for long, though, as help arrived within minutes of her call and quickly transported him to the hospital. Unfortunately all lifesaving methods proved to be fruitless for the former baseball superstar.

Cause of Death Still Pending

The Coweta County Sheriff’s Department noted in their initial report that Hanson’s cause of death was an overdose, but made sure to mention that an official determination would have to be made by a medical examiner after an autopsy was conducted. A statement released by the the department said, “While at the emergency room the reporting officers was part of a conversation with emergency room personnel which led this officer to believe an overdose was a possibility, Law enforcement acknowledges this will have to be determined by medical personnel as to the cause of death.”

An autopsy was performed on Hanson on Tuesday, November 9 by the Coweta coroner, but no further information has been released at this time. Toxicology testing was performed to confirm or deny if drugs indeed caused or contributed to his untimely death.

A Major Hit to the Major Leagues

Hanson made a name for himself soon after his 2009 debut into the majors as the golden boy with a stellar pitching arm after narrowly missing the coveted title of National League Rookie of the Year with 11 wins and a 2.89 earned run average (ERA) while playing for the Atlanta Braves. He went on to play with the Braves for three more years before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 2012 after sustaining injuries to his back and shoulder. His injuries eventually became too much to endure and led to the end of his career in addition to a concussion he sustained in 2013.

Hanson may have hung up his cleats that same year and concluded his career in the majors with 49 wins, 35 losses, a 3.80 ERA and 648 strikeouts. He was in the process of working his way back into the majors by putting his pitching arm to work in the minors.

The impact of his death has been felt far in wide within the MLB community, prompting fans, former teammates and players from other teams to express their sadness through social media posts and statements to media outlets.

Former teammate and Braves legend, Chipper Jones, was one of the many left reeling from Hanson’s passing. He took to Twitter to share a few words about his friend, posting “My heart is broken today. Tommy Hanson was a great teammate, friend and pitcher. We all loved and pulled for him. We ALL will miss him.”

Hanson’s death was deeply felt by Atlanta Braves president, John Schuerholz, who said “We are incredibly saddened to hear of Tommy’s tragic passing. He was a favorite in the clubhouse and with our staff. He will truly be missed by everyone in Braves Country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family, former teammates and friends.”

Kris Medlen, pitcher for the Kansas City Royal’s and former Braves teammate, was a close friend of Hanson’s and called the day of his death “the worst day of my life” and sent a text message to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution saying, “Anyone who knows me knows how much Thomas J. Hanson Jr meant to me. I also feel bad for anyone who didn’t get the chance to know the man. He was the kindest, most loyal person I’ve ever met. He loved his family more than anything in the world, and his friends felt like family when they were around them. He was not ‘like’ a brother to me, he was my brother and I’m going to miss him so much.”

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Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

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