Major League Baseball
Sean Burroughs, former MLB player, Little League World Series and Olympic champion, dies at 43
Major League Baseball

Sean Burroughs, former MLB player, Little League World Series and Olympic champion, dies at 43

Published May. 10, 2024 9:26 p.m. ET

Sean Burroughs, a two-time Little League World Series champion who won an Olympic gold medal and went on to a major league career that was interrupted by substance abuse, has died. He was 43.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's online records said Burroughs died Thursday, with the cause of death deferred.

USA Today, citing unnamed sources, reported Burroughs died at Stearns Champions Park in Long Beach, California, where he grew up.

The Long Beach Fire Department responded to the park shortly after 5 p.m. on a report of a person in full cardiac arrest in the parking lot. "We did all of our lifesaving measures, but we weren't successful," public information officer Brian Fisk said Friday, adding that the person was declared dead at the scene.


"It is with heavy heart that I am writing this message to inform you that yesterday afternoon one of our Coaches, Sean Burroughs, tragically passed away," Doug Wittman, president of Long Beach Little League, wrote in a statement posted on social media Friday.

Wittman coached with Burroughs for the last two years.

"He always came with a fun & 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," the statement said. "To say this is a huge loss is an understatement."

Burroughs was a standout as a pitcher in the Little League World Series for the Long Beach team, which became the first U.S. squad to win consecutive titles. They won the 1992 championship after the Philippines, their opponent in the title round, had to forfeit for using overaged players.

He pitched consecutive no-hitters in the 1993 LLWS — with a then-record 16 strikeouts — and his team won the title over Panama, 3-2.

"Sean was a legend in LBLL and the baseball community," Wittman wrote.

Burroughs won a gold medal with the U.S. baseball team coached by Tommy Lasorda at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"We at USA Baseball are heartbroken to hear of the tragic passing of Sean," USA Baseball executive director and CEO Paul Seiler said in a statement. "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' father, Jeff, was a three-time All-Star and the 1974 American League MVP with the Texas Rangers. He coached his son in those Little League World Series appearances. Sean was born in Atlanta when his father played for the Braves.

Sean Burroughs committed to play baseball at the University of Southern California, but the San Diego Padres selected him with the ninth pick in the first round of the 1998 MLB draft and he signed with them instead.

He was a career .278 hitter, with 12 home runs and 143 RBIs with the Padres, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Minnesota.

He was named most valuable player of the 2002 All-Star Futures Game.

Burroughs broke into the majors as a third baseman in April 2002 with the Padres. He hit a game-winning single in the first game played at San Diego's Petco Park that year.

After the 2005 season, the Padres traded Burroughs to Tampa Bay, but he saw limited playing time before being optioned to the minors and designated for assignment.

In December 2006, Burroughs signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners, but was released less than halfway through the season.

Burroughs was out of baseball for four years while struggling with substance abuse issues that "took away from my aspirations and my dreams," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2012.

In November 2010, Burroughs signed a minor league contract with Arizona. The following spring he joined the Diamondbacks and hit .261, but was outrighted to the minors. After third baseman Melvin Mora was released, Burroughs was promoted back to Arizona in July and returned to the starting lineup.

Burroughs became a free agent that fall and signed a minor league deal with Minnesota in December. He made the major league club in spring training, but was let go in May.

From 2013-2017, he played for multiple independent minor league teams.

He appeared as an extra in TV shows "Knots Landing" and "Saved by the Bell," as well as the film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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