Former MLB star Ryan Freel found dead in home
Former MLB star Ryan Freel was found dead in his Florida home at the age of 36 on Dec. 22. Police say they discovered what they believed to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds and are treating his death as a suicide.
He leaves behind a wife, Christie, and three young daughters.
Freel played for the Cincinnati Reds from 2003 to 2008. He was paid $11.55 million in his career, but it ended prematurely because of a succession of injuries after 2006. He played the majority of his time in the outfield — mostly in center field — but was also known to play infield as well. In 2010, Freel announced his retirement.
After retiring, Freel returned to Jacksonville and coached youth players for an organization called Big League Development. In June, he was named head coach of St. Joseph Academy, but resigned shortly after taking the job.
Off the field, Freel was arrested for alcohol-related offenses. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. In 2006, he was charged with misdemeanor disorderly intoxication. He paid the fine for the first, and the charges were dropped for the second.
Freel told the Baltimore Sun in 2009 that those two incidents opened his eyes and he had stopped drinking since.
The Reds released a statement that said, “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.”
Brandon Phillips, one of Freel’s teammates when he played for the Reds, tweeted, “Really hurt by his passing. You never will be forgotten.”