Tommy Hanson was 29 years old. Six years ago, he was one of the game’s brightest young pitching talents. He made his pitching debut with the Atlanta Braves on June 7th, 2009. He won 13 games that season, compiling a 2.89 and finishing 3rd in NL Rookie of The Year. He won 45 games during his first four seasons before shoulder injuries struck him down. He hadn’t appeared in a Major League game since 2013. He was pitching for the San Francisco Giants in the minors this past season. Late Monday night, NBC Sports confirmed via an MLB source that Hanson had passed away after catastrophic organ failure.
On Sunday, Hanson went into the hospital after experiencing trouble breathing. Earlier Monday evening, Hanson fell into a coma. A variety of tests were run but to no avail. There were no prior events that could have prepared his family or his friends for this kind of situation. According to all sources available, Hanson didn’t have any previous serious issues other than getting his shoulder 100 percent and getting back to the Majors. This is worse than tragic. This is unfair.
Any time an innocent 29 year old dies, it’s a sad story. Everybody should reach 30. Everyone should get that chance. Hanson didn’t do drugs. He didn’t drive drunk or hurt anyone. He was a baseball player. He was a guy who didn’t give up when the league told him he couldn’t make a comeback. The Braves traded him to LA for current Cardinals pitcher Jordan Walden. Hanson spent an injury plague 2013 season with the Los Angeles Angels before pitching minor league ball for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and the Giants the past two seasons.
In 2014, debuting with the Charlotte Knights, Hanson talked about having two weeks in between jobs after the Rangers released him where he was throwing baseballs against a fence and with his wife rolling the ball back to him. All he could think about was getting back to the big show.
That’s life. It can be so simple minded and goal driven at one moment and then it can be gone. For Tommy Hanson, it all started at Redlands East Valley High School in California. After moving there from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hanson started his career. He was drafted in the 22nd round in 2005. He would be the #2 prospect in the Baseball Prospectus. After it all fell apart, Hanson never stopped pitching.
If we can learn anything from Hanson’s passing, it is make every moment count. There’s a clock on your life and we never know when it’s going out. You can be healthy as ever at one moment and then gone. It’s a privilege and not a right. It’s also not fair. It doesn’t matter if you know him or not. It doesn’t matter what his views were. It doesn’t matter. He’s gone and it’s sad.
Rest in peace, Tommy Hanson. Gone too soon.