Sean Burroughs, Gold Medalist and Former MLB First-Round Pick, Died Before Heading to Coach Son's Little League Game 

Sean Burroughs, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and a first-round pick in the MLB draft, died before heading to coach his son’s Little League game on Thursday, May 9

Published Time: 16.05.2024 - 00:31:13 Modified Time: 16.05.2024 - 00:31:13

Sean Burroughs, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and a first-round pick in the MLB draft, died before heading to coach his son’s Little League game on Thursday, May 9. He was 43.

The California Long Beach Little League said in a statement via Instagram that the baseball player "tragically passed away" on Thursday afternoon. Burroughs’ mother Debbie told the Southern California News Group that the cause of death was cardiac arrest, per ESPN.

After dropping off his son Knox, 6, for a Little League game he was intended to coach, Burroughs was found unconscious next to his car in a Long Beach ballfield parking lot, reports the league’s president, Doug Wittman, per The Orange County Register.

Upon discovery, Long Beach Fire Department personnel arrived in response to 9-1-1 calls, but once the first responders arrived, the baseball player was pronounced dead.

"It was very shocking," Wittman told The Orange County Register. "It's a real sense of family at Long Beach Little League. So when we lose one of our own, it hurts."

Burroughs, the son of the 1974 American League MVP Jeff Burroughs, won Little League World Series Championships for LBLL in 1992 and 1993. During the LLWS, he threw back-to-back no-hitters. The achievement earned him an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman at just 12 years old.

The Long Beach league’s Friday statement paid tribute to the late baseball player for his work in the Long Beach and baseball communities. "To say this is a huge loss is an understatement," the statement read. “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."

The national Little League Baseball and Softball organization paid tribute to Burroughs Little League days in an Instagram post on Friday.

Burroughs’ professional baseball career began in 1998 when the San Diego Padres -

selected him with the ninth overall pick in that year's MLB draft.

In 2000, he was chosen for the U.S. Olympic baseball team and helped the team score its first-ever gold medal in Sydney.

"We at USA Baseball are heartbroken to hear of the tragic passing of Sean," USA Baseball executive director and CEO Paul Seiler said in a statement. "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."

Two years after the Olympics, he served as the Padres’ third baseman, making his major league debut that April. 

In 2006, he was traded to Tampa Bay Rays, who released him that August. He then headed to the Seattle Mariners for a brief amount of time before he stepped away from the field in 2007. He later played with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 and the Minnesota Twins in 2012.

In 2011, he shared with ESPN that he walked away from the field because he “didn't have the drive or the passion.”

"I was spent physically and spent mentally,” explained Burroughs. “It just wasn't there. I was emotionally drained. I still loved the game and respected the game, but I didn't have the drive to go to the park every day. I kind of lost the desire."

He also revealed that he had difficulty with substance abuse, and for a moment in time, he was living in Las Vegas motels and eating out of trash cans. Eventually, he moved back to his childhood home and got himself ready for baseball again. In 2015, he played 79 games with the independent Long Island Ducks.

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Burroughs is survived by his parents, sister, brother and son, Knox.

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