Terrible news:

First Coast News sports director Dan Hicken has learned that Ryan Freel, a Jacksonville native and former Major League Baseball has died at the age of 36. The cause of death is suicide.

I don’t really have any reaction except shock and sorrow. Freel was a fun player to watch, and an interesting personality to have around the Reds. This is just horrible news.

Redleg Nation sends out our thoughts and prayers to Freel’s family.

33 Responses

  1. Swatch

    This is terrible news. Freel was a favorite son of Cincinnati, and I’d certainly believe a favorite of many in the Nation. Thoughts go out to him… he played the game the right way.

  2. orbb

    Very sad news. Prayers for him and his family.

  3. MrSaturdayNite

    He was one of my all-time favorites. It’s a sad night for Cincinnati sports.

  4. redsfanman

    Freel was also one of my all-time favorites after my 13 years of watching the Reds. In my opinion Freel was the best leadoff hitter the Cincinnati Reds have had in the past decade, even though he was rarely fully appreciated by Reds fans. It was impressive that he was able to be successful despite being roughly my height and not having the raw skills usually needed to be successful. I have fond memories of watching him dive into stands, and bad memories of him diving head first into another outfielder and being carted off the field. He was always a fun guy who made Reds games worth watching.

  5. pinson343

    Terrible news, what a shock. An unforgettable, unique player, would make amazing plays on a regular basis. Apparently a fun and popular guy. A lot of pain in the Reds community. Deep sympathy for his friends and family.

  6. cliff

    In a time where the game is overrun with lazy multimillionaires who play the game the wrong way, freel was unique. Never got the recognition of a David eckstein, but freely left it all between the chalk every single day.

  7. btdew

    So sad… Thoughts, prayers and love to his family. Met him at the Reds Caravan Tour here in Indy. Just hate hearing this.

  8. Mike Martz

    It’s truly hard to put into words the way I’m feeling about this news.
    Freel was and alway will be one of my favorite Reds players.
    He played the game in the mold of Pete Rose, (100 miles an hour 100% of the time!)
    I was very sad to see him leave the Reds organization, but that is no comparison to the way this makes me feel!
    My family will be praying for the Freel family to overcome this terrible tragedy.
    There is something terribly wrong with the amount of unfortunate death this year!

    God be with everyone here and I hope everyone has a safe and happy Holiday season.

  9. rhayex

    Lets get some goodmemoriesfrompeople.

  10. GoCats

    Very sad indeed. Ryan Freel was one of my favorite Reds that I had the pleasure to watch play the game the way it was intended – full screw, every day.

  11. BenL

    How awful. Freel was a joy to watch and the type of person you like to have on your team. My sympathy to his family and friends.

  12. steveschoen

    Always one of my favorites. Everyone has their ideal type of player and how to play. Given ideal never exists, Freel played like I prefer to see, hard all the time. At times, it caused him injuries. But, I always consider better to play hard than soft. I remember people were talking about Jeter diving into the stands. Freel did it before Jeter.

    Ryan will be missed. Prayers to him and his family.

  13. OhioJim

    Really nothing more to say other than to add my condolences.

  14. redmountain

    As someone who has thought about suicide, (many of us have)all I can say is WTF??????

  15. Ediv710

    Bob Costas needs to go on an anti gun and anti concussion rant. This is ripe for exploitation by liberals.

    • aktrainer

      Bob Costas needs to go on an anti gun and anti concussion rant.This is ripe for exploitation by liberals.

      Leave the politics out of this tragedy, please. Now is not the time or place.
      Awful, terrible news. Suicide hurts so many people, and you will always be left wondering why. Freel was one of my favorites during those years. Very sad.

    • steveschoen

      Bob Costas needs to go on an anti gun and anti concussion rant.This is ripe for exploitation by liberals.

      Simple poor bad taste.

  16. Farney

    I loved Freel— that guy played the game right. Growing up I tried to emulate his style– the all-out, give-anything-to win attitude.

    For those of you who don’t remember, he gave an interview in 2006 about his imaginary friend in his head named Farney (my username).

    Here is a link to an interview or two about it:



    RIP, Farney and Freel

  17. Jared

    “Freel played the game with the kind of reckless abandon that is rare in baseball.” I think he also played football at Notre Dame. RIP, brother.

  18. earmbrister

    Freel was a favorite of mine, like many here. So very tragic. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

    Just more emptiness and sadness in a tough holiday season. Rest in Peace.

  19. Mark Tokar

    The movie “I Am” by Tom Shadyac (director, Ace Ventura) is about depression following concussions, and very illuminating. He too was suicidal after a bicycle accident and concussion, and saw no way out of the unbearable depression. He experienced recovery for unknown reasons.Concussions might well have affected Mr. Freel that way too – who knows, but having eight of them is a clue.

  20. Drew Mac

    My oldest daughter’s first Reds game was one in which Freel was carted off of the field. If I am not mistaken, he had either collided with the wall or a teammate near or on the warning track and was down for quite some time. My daughter was understandably very concerned and when we returned home, I purchased a card and my daughter wrote him a short note wishing him a speedy recovery. She is nine now and she was in the room with me when the news came across MLB Network. I suppose this is just one of those conversations in which my daughter learns that there are often more questions than answers in life. . . . . RIP Ryan Freel.

  21. RedLeg75

    @Mark Tokar: The concussion/suicide angle cannot be ignored. It will become commonplace soon enough, unfortunately. God Bless Freel.

  22. redsfanman

    After Darryl Kile’s death in 2002 the Astros and Cardinals created the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award to give to the player who best exemplified Darryl Kile’s traits (good teammate, great friend, fine father, and humble man). Anybody think the Reds will introduce something similar this season commemorating Ryan Freel? Like the Ryan Freel Hard Worker Award, given to somebody who works very hard and goes all-out to perform well despite limited skills? Chris Heisey would seem like a likely candidate for 2013, or Arroyo or LeCure if they consider pitchers. Then again, maybe the Reds won’t be interested in making an award because of what happened to him and because he left the team years ago – Darryl Kile died of natural causes during the season. Hopefully the Reds do something to honor Freel in 2013.