A utility player who fielded two infield and three outfield positions while hitting for a lifetime average of .268, Ryan Freel will never be considered for entry into baseball's Hall of Fame. But Freel, who played in Cincinnati for six years, is one of my all-time favorite Reds. He played the game with reckless and joyous abandon.
Just a few weeks ago, I was talking with my Dad, like me a Reds fan, about Freel, surfing the web for his career stats as we remembered his hard-nosed play.
Freel died on Saturday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was only 36. The news saddened me.
And, as is inevitable in such circumstances, one wonders what drove this young man to take his own life.
Of course, that's even more true of those who actually knew Ryan Freel, like Anthony Castrovince, who filed this piece.
May God bless the family and friends of Ryan Freel with the comfort, hope, and peace that belongs to all who know and trust in Jesus Christ!