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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sean Burroughs, a former MLB player and champion of both the Little League World Series and Olympics, passes away at the age of 43

Burroughs excelled as a pitcher for the Long Beach team in the Little League World Series and clinched a gold medal with the U.S. baseball team during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Los Angeles mourns the loss of Sean Burroughs, a remarkable athlete whose journey from Little League World Series triumphs to an Olympic gold medal and major league career, marred by substance abuse battles, has left an indelible mark. He passed away at the age of 43, leaving behind a legacy that transcends the sporting realm.

According to the online records of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, Burroughs passed away on Thursday, with the exact cause of death deferred. The tragic incident unfolded when the Long Beach Fire Department responded to a park, following a report of a person in full cardiac arrest in the parking lot. Despite their efforts, the individual, later identified as Burroughs, could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The news sent shockwaves through the Long Beach community, particularly within the Little League fraternity, where Burroughs had made a significant impact. Doug Wittman, president of Long Beach Little League, conveyed the somber news via a statement on social media, paying tribute to Burroughs’ contributions as both a coach and mentor. Wittman reminisced about Burroughs’ infectious enthusiasm, wealth of baseball knowledge, and humble demeanor, underscoring the profound loss felt by all who knew him.

Sean Burroughs in 1998 in Long Beach, Calif.

Burroughs’ journey to sporting stardom began in the hallowed grounds of the Little League World Series, where he showcased his prowess as a pitcher for the Long Beach team. His crowning achievement came in 1992 when he led his team to consecutive titles, making them the first U.S. squad to achieve such a feat. The following year, Burroughs etched his name in LLWS history with consecutive no-hitters and a championship victory over Panama, solidifying his status as a legend in the baseball community.

His stellar performances on the international stage caught the attention of scouts, leading to his selection for the U.S. baseball team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Coached by the legendary Tommy Lasorda, Burroughs played a pivotal role in securing a gold medal for his country, further enhancing his reputation as a premier talent.

The baseball pedigree ran deep in the Burroughs family, with his father, Jeff Burroughs, himself a former MLB All-Star and MVP. Under his father’s guidance, Sean honed his skills and earned a scholarship to the University of Southern California. However, fate intervened when the San Diego Padres drafted him in the first round of the 1998 MLB draft, altering the course of his career.

Sean Burroughs in San Diego on 2002.

Burroughs embarked on a professional career that saw him don the jerseys of several MLB teams, including the Padres, Tampa Bay, Arizona, and Minnesota. Despite flashes of brilliance, his journey was fraught with challenges, including struggles with substance abuse that derailed his aspirations.

Following a hiatus from the sport, Burroughs staged a comeback, signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. His resilience and determination were on full display as he battled his way back to the majors, earning a spot on the Diamondbacks’ roster and making significant contributions on the field.

However, the road to redemption was fraught with setbacks, as Burroughs found himself in and out of the majors, grappling with the pressures of professional sports and personal demons. Despite the challenges, he persevered, playing for independent minor league teams and showcasing his resilience in the face of adversity.

Beyond the baseball diamond, Burroughs dabbled in the world of entertainment, making cameo appearances in TV shows and films. His eclectic interests and multifaceted talents endeared him to fans both on and off the field, leaving an enduring legacy that transcends the confines of sports.

As the world mourns the untimely loss of Sean Burroughs, his legacy serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and the enduring spirit of the human condition. Though he may have left this world prematurely, his impact will continue to resonate, inspiring future generations to chase their dreams and overcome life’s obstacles with unwavering determination.

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