Ex-MLB IF, Little League star Burroughs dies at 43

Ex-MLB IF, Little League star Burroughs dies at 43

Sean Burroughs, a winner of the Little League World Series, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and a first-round pick in the MLB draft, has died at the age of 43.

The Long Beach Little League based in California said in a statement posted to Instagram that Burroughs “tragically passed away” Thursday afternoon. His mother, Debbie, told the Southern California News Group that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

According to Long Beach Little League president Doug Wittman, Burroughs was found unconscious next to his car in the parking lot at a Long Beach ballfield after dropping off his son, Knox, for a Little League game.

Wittman said CPR was performed on Burroughs in hopes of reviving him, but he remained unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

“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.”

In its statement, the Long Beach Little League praised Burroughs as “a legend in LBLL and the baseball community for winning back-to-back Little League World Series Championships for LBLL in 1992 and 1993.”

“To say this is a huge loss is an understatement,” the statement continued. “… 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.”

Burroughs threw back-to-back no-hitters to help Long Beach to consecutive Little League championships, then went on to star at Long Beach Wilson High.

The son of 1974 American League MVP Jeff Burroughs was selected with the No. 9 overall pick by the San Diego Padres in 1998. The third baseman made his major league debut in April 2002, recorded the first walk-off hit for the Padres in Petco Park history in 2004 and was out of baseball in 2007 before returning to play from 2011 to 2012.

“I just didn’t have the drive or the passion,” Burroughs told ESPN in June 2011 of his decision to walk away from the game. “I was spent physically and spent mentally. 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.”

Burroughs told ESPN that he was a substance abuser living in cheap motels in Las Vegas and eating out of trash cans. It lasted until he looked in the mirror, decided he didn’t recognize himself and vowed to turn things around.

He moved back into his childhood home, under the house rules, and worked himself back into baseball shape.

Burroughs played for the Padres from 2002 to 2005 and was traded to Tampa Bay in late 2005. The Rays released him the following August. After a brief stint in the Seattle Mariners‘ organization, he walked away from the game.

He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 and ended his MLB career in 2012 after 10 games with the Minnesota Twins.

Burroughs played 79 games with the independent Long Island Ducks (2015-16), winning the Atlantic League batting title in 2015.

Chosen for the 2000 U.S. team that won its first-ever gold medal in Sydney, Burroughs played in four games at the Olympics and compiled a .375 batting average.

“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.”

In his major league career, Burroughs appeared in 528 games, batted .278, hit 12 home runs and drove in 143.

Field Level Media contributed to this report.