Hideki Irabu’s death last month was confirmed as a suicide and today the Los Angeles department of public health released his death certificate, which lists “self-inflicted with rope” as the official cause of death.
Irabu, who was 42 years old and married with two children, passed away on July 27 at his home in Los Angeles.
Last year in California he was arrested for drunk driving and three years ago in Japan he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a bar manager after drinking approximately 20 glasses of beer.
Irabu starred in Japan before signing with the Padres in 1997, later being traded to the Yankees where he fell well short of the lofty expectations and was called a “fat toad” by owner George Steinbrenner.
He was far from a total bust in New York, however, going 24-16 with a 4.44 ERA in two full seasons as a starter. Irabu was then traded to the Expos for Jake Westbrook and signed with the Rangers as a free agent in 2002 before returning to Japan to finish his career.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek help. Give the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a call at 1-800-273-8255.
It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.
If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.
Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.
Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.