Sean Burroughs, Olympic gold medalist, Little League World Series champion and former MLB Player, dies at 43

Sean Burroughs, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist, Little League World Series winner and former first round MLB pick, died Thursday, the California-based Long Beach Little League organization announced Friday. He was 43.

Burroughs died of a cardiac arrest, his mother, Debbie, told the Southern California News Group via text, the San Bernardino Sun reported.

According to Doug Wittman, Long Beach Little League president, Burroughs was found unresponsive next to his vehicle at the Long Beach complex after dropping his son off for a game Thursday, The Sun reported.

“I have had the privilege of coaching with Sean for the past two years,” Wittman said on Instagram, and Burroughs “always came with a fun and friendly attitude the kids were drawn to, a wealth of baseball knowledge that could get any kid out of a batting rut and humility worth emulating. To say this is a huge loss is an understatement.”

Burroughs won two consecutive Little League World Series titles in 1992 and 1993 for Long Beach. At 12 years old, he appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” after the second championship. Burroughs would later return to the team to coach his son.

Burroughs was the ninth overall pick in the 1998 MLB Draft. - Lenny Ignelzi/AP
Burroughs was the ninth overall pick in the 1998 MLB Draft. - Lenny Ignelzi/AP

Burroughs also won a gold medal in baseball with Team USA at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, after the US defeated heavily favored Cuba in the final. It was the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the baseball program.

“We at USA Baseball are heartbroken to hear of the tragic passing of Sean,” USA Baseball Executive Director and 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.”

Drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 1998 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, Burroughs would play seven MLB seasons with the Padres, the Tampa Bay Rays – then known as the Devil Rays – Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins, finishing with a career .278 batting average, 12 home runs and 143 runs batted in.

“We mourn the passing of former Padres third baseman Sean Burroughs,” the Padres said on X Friday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.”

The Diamondbacks added: “The #Dbacks mourn the passing of Sean Burroughs and offer our condolences to his family and friends. Sean was a member of the 2011 NL West champion team and beloved by his teammates, coaches, staff, and fans. Rest in peace, Sean.”

His father, Jeff Burroughs, won the American League Most Valuable Player award in 1974 with the Texas Rangers.

Mayor Rex Richardson of Long Beach, California, also expressed his condolences via his office’s social media account.

“The Long Beach community mourns the passing of Sean Burroughs, who was a local hero and baseball legend,” the post said. “Sean was a Little League World Series Champion and Olympian. The sports community will feel his loss for years to come.”

A candlelight vigil for Burroughs is scheduled at Stearns Champions Park in Long Beach on Saturday night.

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