Sean Burroughs, former MLB player and Long Beach Little League ‘legend,’ dies at 43

Burroughs was coaching his son's Little League team Thursday when he suddenly collapsed, according to MLB columnist Bob Nightengale.

Sean Burroughs, former MLB player and Long Beach Little League ‘legend,’ dies at 43
San Diego Padres third baseman Sean Burroughs makes a diving stop during a game against the Colorado Rockies Wednesday June 25, 2003, in San Diego. In his second year at the major league level, Burroughs has evolved into a Padres' leader with stunning defense and a plus 300 batting average. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Sean Burroughs, a former Major League Baseball player and a notable part of the Long Beach All-Star team that won back-to-back Little League World Series championships in the early 1990s, has died. He was 43.

The local baseball community is already mourning the loss of Burroughs. In a statement posted on social media, Long Beach Little League President Doug Wittman and the board of directors dubbed Burroughs a “legend.”

“While he left LB to play for several clubs in the MLB, he returned to his home fields at Stearns Champion Park to coach his son,” the statement posted on Instagram reads. “To say this is a huge loss is an understatement.”

According to a tweet from MLB columnist Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Burroughs was coaching his son’s Little League team when he collapsed Thursday.

Around 5 p.m., bystanders near Stearns Park reported that a man appeared to have stopped breathing, Long Beach Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Jack Crabtree told the Watchdog.

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Fire personnel responded and performed “life-support measures,” on the man, according to Crabtree, but a medical doctor pronounced him dead at the scene. The man was identified as Burroughs by the Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s office, but a cause of death has been not been released.

Burroughs, the son of two-time MLB All-Star Jeff Burroughs, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 12, 1980, and showed promise as a ball player from an early age.

In 1992 and 1993, he represented Long Beach as a field player and pitcher in the Little League World Series. The squad — dubbed the “Little Team That Could” by then Press Telegram Public Editor Rich Archbold — would go on to win back-to-back Little League World Series championships those two years.

Burroughs went on to attend Woodrow Wilson High School and was later drafted by the San Diego Padres as the ninth pick of the first round of the 1998 MLB Draft. He was part of the USA Team that won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.

In 2002, Burroughs made his major league debut for the Padres — hitting one home run with 11 runs batted over 63 games.

Sean Burroughs plays during the 1993 Little League World Series. Courtesy of Little League.

Burroughs’ most notable moment with the Padres came on April 4, 2004, when he hit a walk-off single against the San Francisco Giants to give San Diego a win in the season opener at home. He had stints playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers. He also spent a few years playing independent baseball for the Bridgeport Bluefish.

In 2017, Burroughs retired from baseball and decided to pursue an EMT certification in hopes of becoming a firefighter, according to his LinkedIn profile. He most recently worked as a security officer for Allied Universal, according to his LinkedIn.

“I have had the privilege of coaching with Sean for the past two years and he 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,” the LBLL president and board said. “But what makes LBLL special is our community, we are a family.”

“Families celebrate the highest highs and lift each other up during the lowest lows,” the statement continued. “We will have his family in our thoughts and prayers during this time and try to end the season playing the kind of baseball Coach Sean would be proud of.”

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