Sad news today:
First Coast News sports director Dan Hicken has learned that Ryan Freel, a Jacksonville native and former Major League Baseball has died at the age of 36. The cause of death is suicide.
Freel played baseball at Sandalwood and Englewood High School. He played for five different MLB teams from 2001-2009. He is most known for his six-year tenure with the Cincinnati Reds.
His career batting average was .268 and he stole 143 bases in his career.
Since his retirement from professional baseball in 2009, Freel was a part of an organization on the First Coast called BLD Baseball. BLD stands for Big League Development. Through this organization, Freel coached local youth baseball players.
Thirty-six. That’s very sad. He got to play professional baseball from the time he was 19 until he was 34 (when he last played in Somerset in 2010). How many people can say that? Thirty-six? He had a lot of life left in front of him. Gosh.
As someone who has more past behind him than future left, as I am fifty, this is very painful to see…someone so troubled that it’s not worth it to them to play out the rest of their game. It’s so, so, sad.