Former MLB player Ryan Freel died on Saturday from a self-inflicted gunshot in what authorities are calling a suicide.
The Jacksonville native was found at his home in Jacksonville, and no foul play was suspected. He was 36 years old.
Freel spent eight seasons in the bigs and was most known for his six-year stint as a utility man with the Cincinnati Reds. His all-out play endeared him to the fans, as did his personality.
Freel became a favorite figure among many sports fans when he first talked about a guy inside his head named “Farney.”
“He’s a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him,” said Freel, acting as if he finally crashed into too many walls, ran into too many catchers and dived into too many dugouts. “That little midget in my head said, ‘That was a great catch, Ryan,’ I said, ‘Hey, Farney, I don’t know if that was you who really caught that ball, but that was pretty good if it was.’ Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell ‘em I’m talking to Farney.’”
Reading these quotes six years later is pretty troubling.
Freel was a career .268 hitter with 22 home runs and 143 stolen bases. He played over 100 games each season from 2004-2006, hitting at least .271 with 36 stolen bases each season.
The Reds issued the following statement about his death:
“The Reds family is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ryan Freel. His teammates and our fans loved him for how hard he played the game, and he loved giving back to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
We wish the best to his family during the tough time.
Below is Freel’s highlight reel, which starts with a home run he hit off Randy Johnson:
Here is the type of diving catch Freel regularly made: