Little League World Series hero, Olympic gold medalist Sean Burroughs ‘tragically passed away’ at 43

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Sean Burroughs, who threw back-to-back no-hitters in the Little League World Series, has died, Little League International announced Friday. He was 43.

California’s Long Beach Little League confirmed Burroughs’ death and said in a social media post he “tragically passed away” Thursday. Burroughs’ mother, Debbie, told the Southern California News Group her son went into cardiac arrest.

Burroughs’ Long Beach team won two Little League World Series championships. He went on to play for four big league teams and won an Olympic gold medal in 2000.


Sean Burroughs stands on the baseball field

Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Sean Burroughs against the Florida Marlins at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., June 1, 2011. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

“We at USA Baseball are heartbroken to hear of the tragic passing of Sean,” USA Baseball 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burroughs family during this time.”


Burroughs was found unconscious near his car shortly after he dropped his son, Knox, off for a Little League baseball game, Long Beach Little League President Doug Wittman said. Efforts to revive Burroughs were unsuccessful. 

Sean Burroughs watches batting practice

Sean Burroughs of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks to teammates during batting practice before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field July 19, 2011, in Phoenix, Ariz.   (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

“It was very shocking,” Wittman told The Orange County Register. “It’s a real sense of family at Long Beach Little League. So, when we lose one of our own, it hurts.”

“Sean was a legend in LBLL and the baseball community for winning back-to-back Little League World Series Championships for LBLL in 1992 and 1993,” Long Beach Little League wrote in an Instagram post. “To say this is a huge loss is an understatement. … We will have his family in our thoughts and prayers during this time and try to end the season playing the kind of baseball Coach Sean would be proud of.”

Sean Burroughs throws a baseball

Sean Burroughs of the Minnesota Twins throws against the Boston Red Sox April 25, 2012, at Target Field in Minneapolis. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Burroughs followed in the footsteps of his father, Jeff Burroughs. The elder Burroughs was named the American League MVP in 1974. 

Burroughs spent the first four seasons of his big league career with the San Diego Padres. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in late 2005. After appearing in eight games with the Rays in 2006, Burroughs hit the pause button on his career when he came to the realization he no longer had “the passion” for the game. He also battled substance abuse issues.


“I just didn’t have the drive or the passion,” Burroughs told ESPN in June 2011. “I was spent physically and spent mentally. It just wasn’t there. I was emotionally drained. I still loved the game and respected the game, but I didn’t have the drive to go to the park every day. I kind of lost the desire.”

He returned to the game in 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He later appeared in 10 games for the Minnesota Twins before his career came to an end in 2012.

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