Tommy Hanson, the friendly pitcher known as "Big Red" whose MLB career was stalled by injuries and personal loss, died Monday night at the age of 29, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Hanson, who pitched four seasons for the Atlanta Braves and ended his major league stint with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013, started having breathing troubles on Sunday and fell into a coma at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital on Monday after suffering "catastrophic organ failure," multiple sources tell WSB-TV. The 6-foot-6-inch 220-pounder, who was 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA over his career, had been scooped up by the Braves in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft and was eyed as a future star, ESPN notes. He went on to place third in votes in the National League's 2009 Rookie of the Year contest, per USA Today.
But things went downhill from there. Hanson suffered injuries over the next few years, including his shoulder and a concussion, WSB notes. And the death of his stepbrother in 2013 sent him reeling: He took two separate breaks from the Angels to mourn, USA Today reports. "I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother," he said at the time. "I didn't know how to handle it." He became a free agent later that year and tried to come back, first with the Texas Rangers (he was released after one month), then in the minors with the Chicago White Sox and the San Francisco Giants. The baseball world is filled with "shock and sadness," per MLB.com, especially his old Braves teammates. A team rep tells the site that some of Hanson's ex-colleagues were near him when he died, and the Braves tweeted a goodbye to him early Tuesday that simply said, "RIP, Tommy." (Read more MLB stories.)