Monday night, Tommy Hanson, 29, the hard-throwing 6-6, 220-pound hurler who played for the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Angels, died from catastrophic organ failure. Hanson passed away at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, according to a Braves representative.
The cause of the catastrophic organ failure remains unknown.
At 18, Hanson was drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2005 draft, joining Atlanta in 2009, when he posted a stellar 11-4 record with a 2.89 ERA in his rookie season, finishing third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. Over the next three seasons he posted a 34-28 record, then was traded before the 2013 season to the Angels, where he went 4-3. His ERA consistently rose, as he battled shoulder problems, from 2.89 in 2009 to 3.33 in 2010, 3.60 in 2011, 4.48 in 2012, to 5.42 in 2013.
In the spring of 2013, his stepbrother died, prompting Hanson to take six days away from the team to grieve. He returned to make one start, but found he still needed to mourn, and took three weeks off to recover. He said later, “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.”
Hanson was attempting to make a 2015 comeback in the San Francisco Giants farm system with the Sacramento River Cats when he was stricken; his record this season was 3-5, with a 5.60 ERA.
One career highlight for Hanson came on June 12, 2011, when he struck out 14 Houston Astros. His MLB career record finished at 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA.
Hanson had a reputation as a truly kind man; former teammates acknowledged his warmth in tweets after his death:
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
Thoughts and prayers to the family of Tommy Hanson. Great guy and competitor. RIP
— Josh Reddick (@RealJoshReddick) November 10, 2015
This can’t be real, Tommy was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever played with. I’ll never forget playing with him. Gone way too soon. — Christian Arroyo (@arroyo_c) November 10, 2015
Great teammate, great pitcher, great person. Tommy Hanson you will be missed by so many you competed w/ or against! Prayers to Hanson family
— Kevin Frandsen (@KevinFrandsen) November 10, 2015