Pondering the passing of Hideki Irabu

Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead in his Southern California home last week, an apparent suicide at age 42.

Irabu’s death ended a troubled life, one complicated by abandonment, alienation and the intense scrutiny many professional athletes face when they make it big.

Robert Whiting, whose 2004 book “The Meaning of Ichiro” examined Irabu’s impact on Japanese ballplayers as well as the pitcher’s struggles in the big leagues, penned a piece for Slate that updated the premise of his earlier work.

It’s not a happy story, as one might image.

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