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Former MLB Pitcher Tommy Hanson Died From Cocaine Overdose

By McCarton Ackerman 12/14/15

Hanson was a hot prospect whose career never really took off.

Tommy Hanson
Wiki Commons

Autopsy results released last Friday for former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson confirmed that he died from an overdose involving cocaine and alcohol.

Hanson, 29, passed away on Nov. 9 after being found unresponsive in a friend’s bed the night before. He was initially taken to Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Atlanta and transferred to their main campus in Atlanta, where he died after falling into a coma with catastrophic organ failure. An autopsy report confirmed that his death came from delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity.

An acquaintance at the house, Clare Jordan, told the operator in her 911 call that Hanson had been drinking alcohol the night before, but appeared fine that morning. Coweta Coroner Richard Hawk said the death was accidental, while the county sheriff’s office said there was no suspicion of foul play. There have been no reports indicating that Hanson suffered from addiction or had a history of drug abuse.

“He was a favorite in the clubhouse and with our staff and he will truly be missed by everyone in Braves Country,” said Braves President John Schuerholz in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family, former teammates and friends.”

Hanson was selected as a draft-and-follow pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2005 and made his debut for the team in 2009, but his career never quite took off as expected. He began to struggle with a shoulder injury in 2011 and was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 2013.

The sudden death of his 24-year-old stepbrother reportedly shook Hanson greatly and his game never fully recovered. He signed a deal last year with the Texas Rangers, but was cut before playing a single game with them after just one month. Hanson spent the 2015 season bouncing around with several different minor league teams.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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