Found December 23, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
Ryan Freel was born with Pete Rose-type baseball genes, minus the natural talent.Thats what made Freel so popular with Cincinnati Reds fans, and its why the Reds once put together a Ryan Freel T-shirt giveaway with simulated dirt smudging the garment.Freel never finished a game without dirt and grime on his uniform, to say nothing of his face and arms. And more often than not, the knees of his uniform pants were ripped.He kept needle and thread in his locker to sew his own pants so as to not constantly bother the clubhouse personnel with his trivialities.Like Rose, Freel would do anything to catch a ball and do anything to score a run or take an extra base. He was fearless at running into walls and once dove over the low railing down the right-field line in Dodger Stadium, landing in the lap of a woman sitting in the second row.He caught the ball.His aggressive style also lead to a long series of concussions, which he kept quiet as much as possible.After he dove for a ball in center field, cracked his head against the wall and suffered a concussion, his father called me about his sons concussion history and said, He has had nine or 10 concussions, going back to his high school days.When I wrote the story, Freel was incensed at his estranged father for telling me and at me for writing it, Because you might be cutting my career short and baseball is all I have. And my father has never been part of my life and it isnt his business.Freel was 32 at the time. Before the next season, in December 2008, Freel was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for catcher Ramon Hernandez.During the 2009 season, he played for the Orioles, the Chicago Cubs and the Kansas City Royals, never catching any kind of the magic or fan admiration he enjoyed in Cincinnati.The Royals released him in August, and he signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers and spent the rest of 2009 in the minors. In November of that year, he was granted free agency and never found a job.At age 33, Freels baseball career was over, although he helped out last spring with the Reds Fantasy Camp in Goodyear, Ariz., and in 2010 tried to make a comeback in an independent league, but quickly gave it up.On Saturday, Freels life ended at the age of 36, apparently by his own hand, at his Jacksonville, Fla., home, leaving his wife, Christie, and three children.While listed at 5 feet 10 and 185 pounds, Freel probably was closer to 5-8, but his body was stuffed with energy, all of which he left daily on a baseball field.Off the field, he was a complex figure. There were days when he was everybodys friend, a large smile creasing his face and a hearty hello for everybody. And there were days when hed walk past his closest friend with a frown on his face and a comment for nobody.He didnt like it when he thought a teammate wasnt hustling, wasnt giving it his all. At the teams annual end-of-season party in Milwaukee, he and teammate DAngelo Jimenez engaged in a fist fight when Freel challenged him about his perceived lack of all-out hustle on the field.Freel playfully revealed to me one day that he had an alter ego who was constantly with him, constantly on his shoulder and in his mind, a little guy he called Farney.Hes the guy who does all the good things I do, and hes the guy who tells me the good things to do, Freel told me after he revealed his alter egos presence.After making one incredible catch in the 2006 season, Freel said, Farney is a little guy who lives in my head and talks to me and I talk to him. That little midget in my head said, 'That was a great catch,' and I said, 'Hey, Farney, I dont know if that was you who really caught the ball, but that was pretty good if it was.' Freel later regretted revealing that story because it followed him everywhere and became part of his being, more so than his reckless style of play. He was raised by his Cuban-born mother in Jacksonville. She worked 16 hours a day, teaching and cleaning houses. Freel always gave her credit for his hardscrabble style. And he loved the Reds for giving him a chance that nobody else was going to give him. He was drafted in the 10th round in 1995 by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he never was considered a real prospect. He languished in the minors for five years before finally playing nine games for the Jays in 2001. He was a free agent after the 2001 season and signed by the Tampa Bay Rays, but he spent the entire 2002 season in the minors. Again he became a free agent, and the Reds signed him before the 2003 season. For the next six seasons, he was a big part of the Reds, mostly batting leadoff while playing all three outfield spots, second base and third base. And if they want me to catch, Ill do that too, he once said. His name came up in trade rumors several times his last couple of years with the Reds, and he always said, I dont care who the other team is, I dont want to go. The Reds are the only team to ever give me a chance and they are the only team I want to play for. Nevertheless, after Freel hit .272 with 22 homers, 114 RBI and 140 stolen bases during his time with the Reds, they traded him to the Orioles for Hernandez after the 2008 season. Freel cried. And today, the baseball world cries for Ryan Freel.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
REST IN PEACE

Report: Ryan Freel commits suicide

Former MLB player Ryan Freel, who is most strongly known for his stint with the Cincinnati Reds, reportedly committed suicide.

Former Red Ryan Freel dead at age 36

Ryan Freel, who played for five MLB teams between 2001 and 2009, has committed suicide at age 36, according to multiple reports. Sgt. Mike Paul of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Sheriffs Office confirmed to The Florida Times-Union that Freel, a Jacksonville native, was found dead from a self-inflicted shotgun wound Saturday at his home around 4 p.m. local time. Paul confirmed to the newspaper...

Former MLB Player Ryan Freel Reportedly Commits Suicide

Former MLB utility man Ryan Freel was found dead late Saturday, apparently from a self-inflicted shotgun wound. The 36 year old Freel spent eight years in the majors, from 2001-2009. He spent the majority of that time with the Reds, though he finished up playing 14 games for the Cubs and debuted as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Known primarily for his hustle, Freel was a fan...

Freel found dead in Florida home

Ryan Freel, a former Major League Baseball player known for his fearless play but whose career was cut short after eight seasons by a series of head and other injuries, was found dead Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Freel, who was 36, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound, sheriff's office spokesman Shannon...

Former Major Leaguer Ryan Freel Commits Suicide

Ryan Freel was just 36 years old when he took his own life yesterday.  According to Chad Cushnir of First Coast News, Freel died from an apparent suicide.  He leaves behind a child and a wife. Freel played eight seasons in the Majors for five different teams.  In his career, Freel hit .268/.354/.369. He was a gritty player who always gave it his best.  He was likely instilling...

Rest in Peace Ryan Freel

Ryan Freel was always a favorite of mine. So much that one night, I felt compelled to add him as a Facebook friend. In fact, whatever occurred between today and yesterday was not something that I would think was planned all along by Freel. As of yesterday, Freel had added a submission to The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Field fan page stating “Let me know if I can help in anyway……”...

Former MLB player found dead in Fla. home

MIAMI (AP) -- Former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel has been found dead in his Florida home, and authorities are investigating his death as a possible suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Shannon Hartley said Sunday that the 36-year-old Freel's body was found at his Jacksonville home Saturday afternoon. The medical...

A.J. Pierzynski signing salvages poor winter for Texas Rangers

Prior to the weekend, the only news that we've heard about the Texas Rangers has related to either which players have left, or which marquee free agents they missed out on. But finally, there is some positive news for the Rangers and their fans, as the team agreed to a one-year deal with catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The fact that the Rangers signed anybody is significant by itself...

Former Rangers owner Corbett dies

Brad Corbett, who owned the Texas Rangers from 1974 to 1980 and was known for frequently switching managers, has died. He was 75. Corbett's daughter, Pamela Corbett Murrin, told The Associated Press that her father died peacefully in his sleep on Christmas Eve. She said he had not been sick recently. As an owner, Corbett went through six managers in six years. He also was...

Former Texas Rangers owner Brad Corbett dies at 75

Former Texas Rangers owner Brad Corbett died Monday at the age of 75, his family told local Dallas and Fort Worth media outlets. Corbett, who owned the team from 1974-80, took a fortune that he earned as part-owner of a Fort Worth, Texas company that sold parts to the oil and gas industry and purchased majority controlling interest of the Rangers. During his tenure as Rangers...

Overthinking It: Remembering Ryan Freel by Ben Lindbergh

Former Reds supersub Ryan Freel committed suicide on Saturday. Why does his death hurt more than most?

Rangers Rumors: Texas Not Targeting Adam LaRoche, Kyle Lohse

Texas Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine told Jim Bowden of ESPN that the team hasn’t yet discussed free agents Kyle Lohse or Adam LaRoche. Levine added that the Rangers are currently more focused improving their team via trade than free agency. Thad Levine Rangers AGM just told us at #SXM that they have not discussed Kyle Lohse or Adam LaRoche at this point...

Rangers Winterball Roundup – 12/22

The Gigantes del Cibao, with Nelson Cruz, Leury Garcia, and Hanser Alberto, finished their 2012 campaign with Saturday's one-game playoff loss to Escogido. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's winterball action in the Texas Rangers' system.

Rangers Winterball Roundup – 12/18

Rangers lineup stalwarts Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus both had big games on Tuesday, combining to go 5-for-8 with three doubles and a home run. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's winterball action in the Texas Rangers' system.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.