Tommy Hanson: Remembering the Former Braves Pitcher


Former Atlanta Braves top pitching prospect and starting pitcher Tommy Hanson tragically passed away on Monday night at the age of 29.

Tommy Hanson fell into a coma and ultimately succumbed to catastrophic organ failure at an Atlanta hospital. As the 29-year-old Hanson met a tragic end, let’s remember his contributions to the Atlanta Braves and what he accomplished during his short career at the major league level.

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Tommy Hanson rose through the Braves’ minor league ranks, eventually becoming the top ranked prospect, but in all of baseball according to multiple media outlets. After unceremoniously cutting Braves’ great Tom Glavine in June of 2009, the Braves promoted Tommy Hanson from AAA Gwinnett. Through his first four starts at the major league level, Hanson recorded 4 victories and a 2.48 ERA and was named the National League Rookie of the Month for June of 2009. Tommy Hanson ended his rookie season with an 11-4 record and a 2.89 ERA, finishing 3rd in NL Rookie of the Year voting behind Chris Coghlan and JA Happ. 

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Tommy Hanson was unable to replicate the success of his rookie season in 2010, but still put up excellent numbers. Hanson started 34 games for Atlanta, while owning a 10-11 record and 3.33 ERA. In Bobby Cox‘s final season, Hanson played a key role in helping the Atlanta Braves return to the postseason for the first time since 2005.

The 2011 season began as the most successful period of Tommy Hanson’s career, as the now third-year pitcher put together an excellent first half of the season. Before the All-Star break in 2011, Hanson recorded 10 wins, a 1.11 WHIP and a 2.44 ERA, good for fourth in the league.

Unfortunately, Tommy Hanson’s first half success was short-lived, as his young career began to spiral out of control on the field. In an injury plagued second half of the 2011 season, Tommy Hanson had an 8.10 ERA and a 1-3 record in 5 starts, lowering his total ERA to 3.60 on the year.

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In his final season as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Tommy Hanson began the season as the Atlanta Braves opening day starter. In 22 starts for the club in 2012, Hanson had a 12-5 record with a 4.29 ERA. In late July, the Braves traded Tommy Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for reliever Jordan Walden, ending his tenure with the team that he began his career with. In one year with the Angels, Tommy Hanson appeared in 15 games for Los Angeles, recording a 5.42 ERA.

2013 was the final time that Tommy Hanson would grace the major leagues on the mound, even though he signed minor league deals with Texas, the Chicago White Sox, and most recently the San Francisco Giants. Tommy Hanson began his career was such promised, and provided glimpses of his potential for three seasons as a top of the rotation arm for the Atlanta Braves. His passing on Monday is a devastating blow to the Atlanta Braves family, who always held Tommy Hanson in such high regard.

Former teammates have given their condolences, and remembered Tommy Hanson for the great teammate that he was.

As we remember Tommy Hanson’s life and career, let us never forget the impact he had on our beloved ballclub. During a time of transition — from the release of Tom Glavine, to the retirement of Bobby Cox — Tommy Hanson epitomized the rise of a new generation of stars for the Atlanta Braves, signaling a changing of the guard in the organization.

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Though he never truly lived up to his talent, his amiable personality made Tommy Hanson a fan favorite and well-regarded teammate in the clubhouse. You will be missed, Tommy; and our prayers go out to his family and friends. Once a Brave, always a Brave.