Ex-Yankees Pitcher Hideki Irabu, 42, Found Dead
Hideki Irabu, the former New York Yankees pitcher from Japan, was found dead in Los Angeles on Thursday. He was 42.
According to the New York Times, Irabu's death is being investigated by police as a possible suicide.
Irabu came to the United States in 1997; he signed a four-year, $12.8 million contract with the Yankees.
However, in three seasons with the team, he was 29-20 and pitched in only one postseason game. In 1999, former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner became furious with Irabu for failing to cover first base during an exhibition game and called him a "fat p**sy toad." The incident was parodied on the final episode of Seinfeld. While the fictionalized Steinbrenner character was on the witness stand, George Costanza's father quipped: "How could you give $12 million to Hideki Irabu?"
In 1999 he was traded to Montreal, then later played baseball in Texas. He retired in 2004 after pitching for two seasons for a team in Japan.
The New York Yankees said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Hideki Irabu. Every player that wears the Pinstripes is forever a part of the Yankees family, and his death is felt throughout our organization. Our sympathies and support go out to his wife, Kyonsu, his two children, and all of his friends and loved."