Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson died Monday night after suffering “catastrophic organ failure,” WSB-TV of Atlanta reports. He was only 29.
“We are incredibly saddened to learn of Tommy’s tragic passing,” Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz said in a statement on behalf of the team. “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.”
Hanson was, briefly, one of the best pitchers in baseball. In 2009, he went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning. It was a strong enough debut that Hanson finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting despite not being called up until June. His 10-11 record doesn’t reflect it, but Hanson remained a dominant pitcher in his sophomore season. In 2011, he struck out 14 Astros in a June 12 game and had a 10-4 record with a 2.44 ERA at the All-Star Break.
But by that point, Hanson was already dealing with shoulder issues and never regained that level of dominance. He spent the 2013 season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which proved to be the final one of Hanson’s MLB career. However, he continued to pitch at the minor league level in 2014 and 2015.