Ryan Freel dies
Freel was found dead at his home in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday afternoon, victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed via the Florida Times-Union. Freel was 36 years old, leaving a wife, Christie, along with three daughters, notes C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Eye on Baseball.
First Coast News of Jacksonville reported his death first.
Freel played in parts of eight major league seasons, seeing action in 594 games — 544 with the Cincinnati Reds — and four other teams, from 2001-2009. He batted .268/.354/.369 with 143 stolen bases and 22 home runs. He logged most of his innings in the outfield, particularly center, but was known for having enough versatility to play third base and second.
He also was known for going all out. He dived into the grass, the dirt and the stands chasing after balls. He would crash into fences. He would collide with teammates. And all of the violence against his body caused him significant harm. Freel said in 2007 after a particularly brutal collision with teammate Norris Hopper that he had "probably nine or 10" concussions in his life, but he couldn't remember for certain.
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