Former Cincinnati Reds infielder Ryan Freel was found dead at his home late Saturday afternoon in what local police are calling an apparent suicide. Freel was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head and foul play is not suspected.
Jacksonville news network First Coast News first reported Freel’s death.
Ryan Freel spent the majority of his career with the Cincinnati Reds but he also spent time with the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. He never spent more than a season with a team other than the Reds.
“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.”
-Statement by Cincinnati Reds on Ryan Freel’s Death
Back in his playing days, he earned a minor name for himself when Freel talked about an imaginary man in his head that he talked to out on the field and after catches.
“He’s a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him,” Freel said in an interview back in 2006. “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.”
Freel retired from baseball in 2010 and had most recently worked for the Big League Development Baseball League, which is an organization that helps develop young players. Freel was also recently named head baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in Jacksonville earlier this year.