May 25, 2024

Sean Burroughs, Padres’ first-round pick in 1998 MLB Draft, dies at 43

Sean Burroughs, a first-round pick in the 1998 MLB Draft who played seven major-league seasons, died while coaching his son’s Little League game Thursday, Little League International announced Friday. He was 43.

His cause of death was not immediately disclosed. Online records for the medical examiner’s office for Los Angeles County listed a death for a Sean Burroughs and said that an autopsy had been scheduled.

The listing said Burroughs died Thursday in a vehicle, but the office did not immediately respond to a request for comment to confirm that the Burroughs in its listing was the former MLB player. The entry, however, matched Burroughs’ birthdate and the date of his death.

“I have had the privilege of coaching with Sean for the past two years and he always came with a fun and friendly attitude the kids were drawn to, a wealth of baseball knowledge that could get any kid out of a batting rut and humility worth emulating,” Long Beach Little League president Doug Wittman said in a statement. “To say this is a huge loss is an understatement.”

Before arriving in the majors, Burroughs was a highly touted prospect who pitched back-to-back no-hitters in the Little League Baseball World Series and guided his Long Beach (Calif.) team to championships in 1992 and 1993.

Sean Burroughs throws a pitch during a Little League World Series game in August 1993 in Williamsport, Penn. (Photo: Rick Stewart / Allsport)

He spent most of his major-league career playing third base with the Padres, appearing in 432 games for San Diego between 2002 and 2005 after the franchise drafted him with the No. 9 pick.

After the 2005 season, Burroughs was traded to Tampa Bay but only appeared in eight games with the team, batting .190. After several minor league stops, injuries forced Burroughs to take some time away from baseball. But in 2011, he returned to the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 78 games. Burroughs would play 10 games for the Minnesota Twins in 2012, his final MLB season.

In a 2011 ESPN article, he spoke about his struggles with substance abuse issues while out of the majors.

“Last May, June, I kind of was getting things back together and thinking, ‘I’d love to play baseball again,’ but it was in the back of my mind because I didn’t know how to do it,” Burroughs told ESPN. “I knew it would be a long journey, but it shows when I put my mind to something and want it and persevere, it’s possible. It really is.

“It’s incredible I’m where I’m at. People are lucky to even have me alive, forget to see me play baseball and smiling every day. My worst day now is better than my best day then.”

Burroughs slashed .278/.335/.355 through 1,664 major-league at-bats. He also won a gold medal representing the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

“We at USA Baseball are heartbroken to hear of the tragic passing of Sean,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s chief executive. “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.”

Burroughs is the son of two-time All-Star Jeff Burroughs, the first overall pick in the 1969 draft.

(Photo: Norm Hall / Getty Images)