Craig Calcaterra

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (48) works in the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. The Braves won 6-2. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Associated Press

Tommy Hanson died of a cocaine/alcohol overdose

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Tommy Hanson, the former Braves and Angels pitcher, died in early November at the age of 29. At the time the police report of his death listed “overdose” as a possible factor in his death. Toxicology reports came back late last week and have confirmed that as the cause of death.

It was an accidental overdose, it appears, with Hanson suffering from a delayed reaction of cocaine and alcohol. The story at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Hanson appeared fine in the late night/early morning he was was drinking and using cocaine, but the next morning he was found unresponsive and 9-1-1 was called.

The results of the toxicology report are not, based on earlier reports, surprising, but they are no less sad.

Remember Floyd Youmans? He’s an Uber driver now

USA - CIRCA 1980s: Floyd Youmans of the Montreal Expos pitches circa 1980s. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Like most baseball writers, Pedro Moura of the OC Register was in Nashville for the Winter Meetings. One day he took an Uber to get to the Opryland Hotel. His driver had the same name as a phenom pitcher from the 1980s named Floyd Youmans. There’s a good reason for that. It was the former phenom pitcher from the 1980s named Floyd Youmans.

Yesterday Moura wrote his story about the chance encounter and, more broadly, about Youmans life and career trajectory since the late 1980s when Youmans looked like a star-on-the-rise in Montreal. Alcohol and health problems derailed him, sadly, and he ended up pitching only 94 games in the bigs, the last coming in 1989.

I think the most interesting part of his story, however, is when he talks about being outside the game and how it’s painful at times to not be part of the larger baseball community. It’s not a tragic story — Youmans has a happy marriage to a doctor who provides a good living for their family — but it says a lot about the need people have to be a part of a community of some form or another. And how some communities are more insular and make it harder to remain a member of than others. Baseball works that way, it seems. At least for some people.

Anyway, great story about a player most of us probably haven’t thought about in a long, long time.

Former teammate on Yasiel Puig: “He is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game. Ever.”

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It was a quiet 2015 season for Yasiel Puig. Largely because he was hurt and ineffective almost all year and we tend not to hear all that much about non-factors like that. Partially, however, because Puig did not, at least as far as the public knows, get into any notable controversies with his teammates. If his past greatest hits — being late, generally being a screwup — continued in 2015, there weren’t many reports about them.

But two things put Puig back in the news recently: (1) Andy Van Slyke’s claim — denied by everyone in a position to know — that “the highest-paid Dodgers player” told Dodgers management that Puig must be removed from the team; and (b) the altercation Puig recently had at a Miami nightclub.

This inspired Scott Miller of Bleacher Report to do a story about where Puig stands in the eyes of his teammates these days. According to Miller, he doesn’t stand too terribly tall:

He is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game,” one ex-Dodger who believes Puig is beyond redemption said flatly. “Ever.”

OK, then!

Players currently on the Dodgers are not so stark about it, at least on the record. A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez and others, all  totally acknowledging that Puig has had some serious problems with the sort of professionalism and maturity players expect from their teammates, all deny that Puig is irredeemable.

Gonzalez, the closest thing Puig has to a mentor and who probably deserves sainthood for being the defacto Puig point man, thinks Puig will figure it out eventually. Even Ellis, who would appear to be part of the camp that is most exasperated with Puig, gives a nod to the idea that he and his teammates need to try to meet Puig a little bit of the way too. In all of this you get the feeling that, however much dysfunction there is here, everyone realizes that it’s better to try to build bridges than devolve to open warfare.

Ultimately, however, you get the sense that if Puig were hitting .320/.390/.540 or whatever it was he was doing in 2013, everyone would be way cooler with his schtick, with the shower shoes/fungus/win 20 in the show/colorful dynamic coming in to play. As far as that goes, Puig’s health and commitment to being in better shape — and even without the hamstring injury, Puig did not seem to be in the best shape he could be last year — is more important to him adhering to the on-time-is-late, early-is-on-time custom of baseball clubhouses.

So, as with most things, it all comes down to playing well. If Puig plays well, this all takes care of itself.