Hardball Talk is reporting that the former New York Yankees, Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead in his California apartment. While no further details are being provided right now, it appears suicide by hanging was the cause of his death.
While Irabu never truly flourished in the United States as a baseball player like he did in his native Japan, he did manage to be a part of two World Series championships for the Yankees in 1998 and 1999.
Irabu's best season came as a starting pitcher for one of the greatest teams in baseball history, the 1998 New York Yankees. For the Yankees, he went 13-9 with a 4.06 ERA, a WHIP of 1.295 and an ERA+ of 109.
Sadly, he never pitched that well again.
After retiring following the 2002 season, Irabu had issues with alcohol and the law.
If the reports are true and he did commit suicide, it is a sad end to what was once a promising life and career.
Rest in peace, Hideki.
Update: Based on the New York Daily News tweet, the Yankees have confirmed Hideki's death in Los Angeles.