Sun, Dec 13, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Cocaine, alcohol cited in death of ex-Brave Hanson

NY Times News Service

Tommy Hanson, a former major league pitcher, died from delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity, according to autopsy results released on Friday.

Hanson, 29, was found unresponsive at a friend’s home in Newnan, Georgia, on Nov. 8.

“He looks blue, and there’s like a liquid coming out of his nose,” a woman said in a 911 call.

He died at Piedmont Newnan Hospital the next night. The death was ruled accidental, Coweta County coroner Richard Hawk said.


Baseball America once named Hanson baseball’s fourth-best prospect, and his early performance for the Atlanta Braves suggested he could become a top starting pitcher.

He finished third in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2009, when he had a 2.89 ERA and 116 strikeouts over 127-2/3 innings.

However, injuries derailed his career. He missed two months because of shoulder soreness in 2011, and his velocity was down when he returned. He was in a car accident that resulted in a concussion in 2012.

The Braves traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in 2012 and he continued to struggle, posting a 5.42 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 73 innings. He took a three-week leave from the team after his stepbrother died.

“I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother,” he said at the time.

“I was just trying to get through it. I didn’t know how to handle it,” he added.

He spent last year with a Chicago White Sox minor league team after an unsuccessful bid for a spot in the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation, and played in San Francisco’s minor league system this year.

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