Friday, January 11, 2013
Unpossible Autograph Friday- Ryan Freel
During the time that I took away from this blog around Christmas, I heard the very sad news that Ryan Freel had passed away. Then a day or so later, I read that he had committed suicide. It is always very sad to hear when something awful like this happens, and I don't honestly feel very qualified to say much about the situation other than comment on how tragic it is for his family. But I will try.
Freel was known for playing the game without regard to his own well-being, frequently crashing into walls and diving into the stands in pursuit of a ball. While this is an admirable, and at times, necessary, way to play in the Majors, it unfortunately also led to his having by his own estimation, nine or ten concussions over the course of his playing career. Now, I haven't heard of a direct connection between the concussions and his passing, but based on the amount of head trauma research being done about football players, I don't feel like it's too much of a stretch to theorize that they could have been at least a contributing factor in his decision to take his own life.
While I don't have many memories of Freel during the nine games he played in for the Orioles early in the 2009 season, the final image that O's fans have of him is of him lying on the ground at second base in Boston after being hit in the head with an errant pickoff throw while diving back to the bag, possibly causing one of those concussions.
Unfortunately, I also don't have any personal autograph memories from during his time with the O's since a friend got this card signed for me prior to the 2009 season at Orioles Fanfest.
RIP Ryan, you left way too soon.