Former Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson died due to a cocaine overdose, according to WXIA-TV Atlanta. Coroner Richard Hawk ruled that Hanson’s official cause of death was from “delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity.” Hanson’s death was accidental and caused by “illicit drug use.”
Hanson’s death shocked the baseball world. Reports surfaced November 9 that Hanson had slipped into a coma due to “catastrophic organ failure.” Just a few hours later, Hanson was pronounced dead. He was 29.
After being drafted by the Braves in 2005, Hanson quickly rose to the top of the prospect ranks. He was listed as Baseball America’s fourth best prospect prior to the 2009 season.
Hanson made his debut that year, posting a 2.89 ERA over 127 2/3 innings as a 22-year-old. Hanson was excellent for the club the next two years, but was limited to just 130 innings in 2011 due to shoulder injuries.
It proved difficult for Hanson to come back from those issues. His posted a 4.48 ERA in 2012, a sharp decline from his peak seasons. That offseason, he was traded to the Angels.
Hanson struggled in Los Angeles, making just 13 starts with the team. In 73 innings, he posted a 5.42 ERA. Hanson also had to deal with the death of his younger brother at the start of the season.
While 2013 was the last season Hanson pitched in the majors, he was attempting to make a come back. Hanson pitched in the Chicago White Sox minor-league system in 2014, and spent time in the San Francisco Giants organization in 2015.