Police in Jacksonville, Florida are investigating the death of former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel as a suicide resulting from a gunshot wound.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the 36 year old former Cincinnati Reds utility fielder was found in the apparent suicide in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday December 22nd.
“The Reds family is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ryan Freel,” the team said in a statement. “His teammates and our fans loved him for how hard he played the game, and he loved giving back to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Freel, who won the Reds’ hustle award in 2007, was a career .268 hitter in 594 big league games.
Former teammate Brandon Phillips said on Twitter he was “Really hurt by his passing,” and that Freel wouldn’t be forgotten. The Reds also released a collective statement:
“The Reds family is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ryan Freel. His teammates and our fans loved him for how hard he played the game, and he loved giving back to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Freel had returned to his hometown of Jacksonville after retiring from professional baseball in 2009 following a successful career stretching from 2001 to 2009.
A short stint with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001 was followed by major league playing time covering six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds between 2001 and 2009; Freel’s career came to an end with 14 games for the Chicago Cubs during the 2009 season. During his career Freel held a batting average of .268 and had earlier in the year found his first head coaching position with St.
Joseph Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.
Freel also worked developing young baseball players for future careers in the sport.