Hideki Irabu, a former pitcher for the NY Yankees, was found dead in his Palos Verdes, CA home. On Wednesday July 27, the 42-year-old's body was found by a friend. According to TMZ, Irabu hung himself. He was a successful and well-established player in Japan when he came to the United States after being drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1997, but Irabu refused to play for the Padres. He insisted he would play only for the NY Yankees. It was during Irabu's two seasons with the Yankees that he had an infamous altercation with owner George Steinbrenner, who called Irabu a "fat toad." He played for the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers before he retired from the Major Leagues in 2002. In the intervening years, he spent some time pitching in his native Japan and for a team in an independent league in California. According to ESPN, Irabu became "fat, drank too much and had knee and elbow surgery" which precipitated the end of his career. latimesblogs.latimes.com espn.go.com www.cnn.com www.tmz.com
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