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Former Yankee Hideki Irabu Found Dead at 42 in Apparent Suicide

Hideki Irabu (AP Photo)

Former Yankees hurler Hideki Irabu, who won two World Series rings in New York, was found dead Thursday in an apparent suicide. He was 42.

Irabu apparently hanged himself in a home in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. His friend found him, but it was not immediately clear whether Irabu hung himself at his own home, the New York Times reported.

The righty had some off-the-field incidents after his retirement. In 2008, he was arrested for assaulting a bartender in Japan, and last year, he was arrested on drunken driving charges outside of Los Angeles.

Not-so-affectionately called a “Fat Pussy Toad” by the late, great George Steinbrenner, Irabu spent three years in New York after a successful career pitching in his home country, Japan.

He carried with him the immense pressure of the richest contract at the time for someone who never played a major league game (4 years, $12.8M), and struggled mightly in his first season. After a great first game (6.2 IP, 9 Ks, a win), Irabu finished the year in the minors after a compiling a 5-4 record with a 7.09 ERA.

Irabu went 29-20 with a 4.80 ERA from 1997-99 while in pinstripes.

He then went on to the Expos, making 14 starts over two years. He finished his career as a part-time closer for the Rangers in 2002, finishing with 16 saves and a 5.74 ERA. He retired from Major League Baseball after the season.

He returned to Japan in 2003, pitching for the Hanshin Tigers. He then played independent ball in 2009 Long Beach Armada.

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