Former utility man Ryan Freel took his life at the age of 36, as reported by First Coast news of Jacksonville. Freel spent seven of his eight seasons in the National League Central–six of those coming as a member of the Reds.
Freel was truly the epitome of a blue collar player. His jersey stayed dirty and he could beat you in so many ways. Being on a rival team, Freel should have been the guy you hated to see beat you.
But for some reason, it was, in a way, fun to watch him play.
Freel batted .268 and stole 143 bases (110 of which came over a span of three seasons with Cincinnati). He spent considerable amounts of time at third base, second base, and the outfield. He was named head baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in June.
Perhaps Freel most sticks out to Brewers fans at a noted Brewer killer. He, much like Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion, Ramon Hernandez, and so forth, tore Milwaukee pitching apart. Freel notched a .291 average, .791 OPS, 5 homers, 18 RBI, and 15 steals over 60 games (43 starts).
RIP, Ryan Freel, quintessential ballplayer.