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Sean Burroughs, former first-round draft pick, who played for four MLB teams, dies at 43

Former major-league infielder and Team USA gold medallist Sean Burroughs has died at the age of 43. The Long Beach (Calif.) Little League president and board of directors released the following statement on social media

“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this message to inform you that yesterday afternoon one of our Coaches, Sean Burroughs, tragically passed away. Sean was a legend in LBLL and the baseball community for winning back-to-back Little League World Series Championships for LBLL in 1992 and 1993. While he left LB to play for several clubs in the MLB, he returned to his home fields at Stearns Champion Park to coach his son.

“I have had the privilege of coaching with Sean for the past two years and he always came with a fun es’ friendly attitude the kids were drawn to, a wealth of baseball knowledge that could get any kid out of a batting rut and humility worth emulating. To say this is a huge loss is an understatement. But what makes LBLL special is our community, we are a family. Families celebrate the highest highs and lift each other up during the lowest lows.

“We will have his family in our thoughts and prayers during this time and try to end the season playing the kind of baseball Coach Sean would be proud of.”

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Burroughs collapsed and died Thursday while coaching his son’s Little League team.

Burroughs, the son of 1974 American League MVP Jeff Burroughs, spent parts of seven seasons in Major League Baseball. Originally the No. 9 overall pick in 1998 out of Woodrow Wilson High School in California, Burroughs soon after was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won gold in Sydney. He then broke into the majors with the Padres at the age of 21 in 2002. He spent four seasons with the Padres before seeing limited duty with the Devil Rays in 2006. 

From there came a period of years away from playing, and during that time Burroughs battled addiction. As he told ESPN’s Jim Caple in 2011

“I was doing a lot of things that were morally not correct and physically not correct. I was knocking at death’s door. I was flirting with going to jail and getting locked up someplace. It was scary. Some people kind of came to my rescue. It was pure insanity, but I got myself back together and I’m coming back out of the haze I was in for so many years.”

Burroughs, however, put his life back in order, came back to baseball in 2011, and returned to the majors with the Diamondbacks. He last played in MLB with the Twins in 2012. From there came stints in the minors, the Venezuelan and Mexican Winter Leagues, and indy ball. One of his final teams, the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, acknowledged Burroughs’ passing on Friday: 

 As well, USA Baseball executive director and CEO Paul Seiler released the following statement: 

“We at USA Baseball are heartbroken to hear of the tragic passing of Sean. Sean was a part of one of our most beloved teams, and he represented our country on and off the field in a first-class manner. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burroughs family during this time.”

Burroughs’ MLB career ended with a slash line of .278/.335/.355 with 12 home runs in 528 games. 

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